ROOSEVELTOWN - A Rooseveltown woman was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to 1½ years in federal custody for her participation in what authorities said was an international marijuana smuggling operation.
Aonwentsiio Sunday, 35, also was ordered to undergo three years of supervision upon her release after pleading guilty April 22 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. She is due to surrender herself to authorities April 24.
According to a plea agreement filed with the court, Sunday agreed to possess and distribute the drug with co-conspirators between August and October 2005.
The U.S. Attorneys office claimed in 2008 that a three-year investigation exposed a pipeline bringing millions of dollars worth of marijuana into the United States through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation and distributed it to several cities, including Boston and Atlanta.
In all, more than 30 people were charged in connection with the operation, which authorities said moved about 22,000 pounds of marijuana, generating about $45 million in illegal proceeds.
Authorities claimed the ringleader of the operation was Cornwall, Ont., resident Micheal C. Woods. The plea agreement states that Sunday recruited couriers as a marijuana broker for Woods and personally delivered marijuana to buyers in Albany. It also states she was part of a group of couriers that delivered marijuana to Boston, Pittsburgh and Burlington, Vt., for Mr. Woods.
According to the plea agreement, Sundays involvement in the conspiracy ended in October 2005 when Woods made her pay for 30 pounds of marijuana that had gone missing on a delivery to a buyer in Pittsburgh.
A sentencing memorandum filed by Sundays attorney, George F. Hildebrandt, Syracuse, states that she became involved in the conspiracy to pay off a debt a former boyfriend had incurred to drug dealers.
Four other people from the north country, Mitchell Printup, Winthrop, James Moran, Massena, David Hartley, Winthrop, and Mark P. Smoke, Hogansburg, were also named in indictments alleging their involvement in the operation.
According to court documents, the indictments against Moran, Hartley and Smoke were subsequently dismissed. Documents do not show why the indictments were dismissed against Moran and Hartley The indictment against Smoke was dismissed after he died in a March 2010 car accident.
Charges against Woods and Printup, among several others, remain pending.