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, Mrs. Sunday agreed with co-conspirators from August to October 2005 to possess and distribute the drug. 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 distributing 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, Ontario, resident Michael C. Woods.
The plea agreement states that Mrs. Sunday recruited couriers as a marijuana broker for Mr. 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, Mrs. Sundays involvement in the conspiracy ended in October 2005 when Mr. 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 Mrs. 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 Mr. Moran, Mr. Hartley and Mr. Smoke subsequently were dismissed. Documents do not show why the indictments against Mr. Moran and Mr. Hartley were dismissed. The indictment against Mr. Smoke was dismissed after he died in a March 2010 car accident.
Charges against Mr. Woods and Mr. Printup, among several others, remain pending.