Big drug bust at small Mich. airport

By Terrapinzflyer · Nov 10, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Big drug bust at small Mich. airport

    SANDUSKY, Mich. - Two Canadians have agreed to stay in jail after a valuable load of marijuana and ecstasy was shipped to Michigan's Thumb region aboard a Cessna airplane.

    Windsor, Ontario-area residents Matthew Moody and Jesse Rusenstrom are accused of picking up suitcases full of drugs after the Cessna landed Friday night at Sandusky City Airport.

    Border agent T.J. Emerick followed the plane in a Blackhawk helicopter, then turned his attention and spotlight on a Toyota SUV. Police on the ground caught Moody and Rusenstrom.

    They appeared Monday in Detroit federal court and waived a detention hearing. There was no comment from their lawyers. The marijuana and ecstasy are worth at least $1 million. The drug-smuggling pilot escaped.

    Associated Press
    3:00 p.m. CST, November 9, 2009,0,7181459.story

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Canadian duo arraigned on drug charges in federal court

    A pair of Canadians alleged to be drug traffickers were arraigned in Detroit in federal court.

    Sunday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub arraigned Matthew W. Moody, 32, and Jesse P.J. Rusenstrom, 20, on charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and ecstasy, court records show.

    The duo were apprehended by authorities in Sanilac County Friday night, after a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol helicopter interrupted a suspected drug transaction on the runway of the Sandusky City Airport.

    The two were spotted loading large bags allegedly dumped by a plane into their 2009 Toyota SUV. Fleeing with some of the bags still on the runway, the pair eventually ditched the SUV, the Sanilac County Sheriff’s Office reported.

    A coalition of law enforcement agencies arrested Moody later that night and Rusenstrom early the next morning. Both carried documents identifying them as Candian citizens.

    Upon inspection of the bags, authorities discovered around 100 pounds of marijuana and about 300 pounds of ecstasy, the sheriff’s office reported.

    The estimated street value of the contraband is several million dollars.

    “Something I find interesting is they both wanted to stay in jail rather than bound out,” said Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki, citing the high value of the drugs they allegedly failed to retrieve and sell.

    Biniecki said the continuing investigation is in federal hands. “I’m sure there will be more arrests coming,” he said.

    Moody and Rusenstrom are scheduled for a preliminary examination at 1 p.m. on Nov. 19.

    By Cole Waterman | The Bay City Times
    November 10, 2009, 3:25PM


    COMMENT: Italics added by me. I too find it interesting they chose not to bond out.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Affidavit reveals details of allegations in international drug bust in Sandusky

    Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Detroit have shed more light on an international drug bust in the Thumb.

    Canadian residents Matthew W. Moody, 32, and Jesse Rusenstrom, 20, remain in federal custody as they await preliminary hearings on charges in connection with the Friday night seizure of up to $2 million worth of suspected “high-grade” marijuana and ecstasy.

    A Customs Border Patrol agent piloting a Blackhawk helicopter spotted a high-wing, single-engine Cessna flying low and without beacon lights just after 10 p.m. Friday, according to information in a sworn affidavit submitted by Daniel A. Lampen, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

    The pilot, Border Patrol Interdiction Agent T.J. Emerick, was patrolling near the U.S. border with Canada when he saw the aircraft, flying about 500 feet above ground, cross from Canada into Michigan without following Customs Border Patrol reporting procedures, Lampen alleges.

    The plane as it landed about 10:45 p.m. at Sandusky City Airport.

    Emerick used night vision equipment to keep an eye on the aircraft as it sat on the runway and an unknown person took several suitcase-sized items from the plane to a grassy area nearby, Lampen claims.

    After the airplane flew off, a 2009 Toyota sport utility vehicle drove onto the runway. Two men got out and loaded the bags into the vehicle.

    As the Blackhawk descended, the vehicle drove through the grassy infield onto a road where it headed south, Lampen said.

    Emerick, in the helicopter, pursued the vehicle for three to five minutes before the passenger jumped out and ran into the back yard of a residence, Lampen alleges.
    The vehicle eventually stopped at Sandusky Presbyterian Church where Sanilac County sheriff’s deputies confronted the driver.

    Deputies arrested Moody, who has an Ontario driver’s license, rented the vehicle Aug. 24 and was scheduled to return it Dec. 22, Lampen said.

    Inside the vehicle, authorities found Rusenstrom’s birth certificate and Canadian passport, he said.

    Deputies arrested Rusenstrom about 4 a.m. Saturday when they were called to investigate a suspicious person in a Sandusky neighborhood.

    Investigators seized about 90 pounds of suspected high-grade marijuana and 450,000 to 500,000 suspected ecstasy tablets.

    “Canada is a source of supply for both high quality ‘B.C. Bud’ marijuana and ecstasy,” Lampen said.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement records showed Moody and Rusenstrom crossed the Ambassador Bridge on Nov. 1.

    By LaNia Coleman | The Bay City Times
    November 10, 2009, 6:25PM
  3. Terrapinzflyer
    Smuggler gets 70 months

    A Canadian man linked to the smuggling of more than 300 pounds of Ecstasy and 100 pounds of marijuana in Sandusky in 2009 has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

    Robert "Romeo" D'Leone was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon to 70 months in prison. He pleaded guilty during his trial in April to possession of cocaine.

    Several people were arrested the night of Nov. 6, 2009, after U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in a helicopter spotted a small plane acting suspiciously at the Sandusky Airport.

    The crew saw the plane drop several large bags on the runway and pick up another bag before taking off.

    Two men at the airport then loaded some of the bags into the vehicle before fleeing after noticing the helicopter. They were arrested later.

    Those arrests cracked the smuggling ring. D'Leone was captured last year while living in New York.

    Four other Canadians, including a pilot, have been indicted but have not been extradited in the case.

    Sanilac County Sheriff Garry Biniecki said the drug seizure was a record.

    "I do believe that was one of the largest confiscations of Ecstasy in the United States' history," he said. "It was 500,000-plus tablets that were seized there."

    Biniecki said he hopes the arrests in the case send a message that dealing drugs doesn't pay and allows investigators to find those in higher positions in the smuggling business.

    "This is just another link in that chain that has been taken out," he said.

    Nov. 30, 2011
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