Canadian man acquitted in Massena ecstasy bust
LAKE PLACID - A Canadian man has been cleared of charges that he tried to smuggle 50,000 pills of ecstasy across the border in Massena.
Silas Benedict, 51, of Cornwall Island, was acquitted Friday by a federal jury in Syracuse, according to his attorney, Brian Barrett of Lake Placid. He had faced counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy to import a controlled substance and importation of a controlled substance.
"The feds had insufficient evidence to support these accusations against my client," Barrett said in an e-mail. "Simply put, the jury was brilliant."
Benedict was arrested July 1, 2009 at the Massena Port of Entry. He was a passenger in a vehicle that Customs and Border Protection officers said contained 50 plastic bags, each with 1,000 ecstasy tablets, hidden inside a spare tire. The drugs had a street value $1.5 million.
The driver of the vehicle, Mitchell David, 54, of Cornwall Island, pleaded guilty last week to the same charges Benedict was facing and will be sentenced June 11.
If he had been found guilty, Benedict would have faced up to 60 years in federal prison and fines in excess of $6 million.
By CHRIS KNIGHT,
Enterprise Senior Staff Writer
POSTED: February 8, 2010
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