HomeNewsBriefCanada's 'King of Pot' Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison
BRIEF

Canada's 'King of Pot' Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison

CANADA / 22 AUG 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Canada drug trafficker Jimmy Cournoyer has been sentenced to 27 years in prison, marking the end of a billion-dollar transnational marijuana empire with ties to Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, Italian mafia families, and the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.

On August 20, Cournoyer was sentenced in a New York court for trafficking an estimated 109 tons of marijuana into the United States from Canada, reported the National Post.

Cournoyer, also known as the "King of Pot," was part of a criminal network that smuggled Canadian ecstasy and marijuana into New York and used the proceeds to purchase cocaine from Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, which was trafficked to and distributed in Canada. Cournoyer's group cultivated hydroponic marijuana in British Columbia, which was then transported across Canada by the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in tractor-trailers and trucks. Cournoyer also had ties to New York's Bonanno crime family and Montreal's Rizzuto mob, and allegedly maintained a $2 million execution fund to silence informants.

The day before Cournoyer's trial ended, John Venizelos -- one of his New York associates -- was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to marijuana trafficking, reported the Montreal Gazette

InSight Crime Analysis

Before his 2012 arrest in Mexico, Cournoyer was a major player in Canada's underworld. He allegedly began his career in drug trafficking at age 21, and by the time he was 30, he oversaw a network that smuggled an estimated 450 kilos of marijuana into New York a week. According to US prosecutors, Cournoyer controlled ports and customs checkpoints partly by corrupting officials and also conducted operations on sovereign indigenous lands with little law enforcement presence to avoid detection. US prosecutors said that in total, Cournoyer's network distributed at least $1 billion in illegal drugs.

Far from maintaining a low profile, Cournoyer reportedly lived an extravagant lifestyle, rubbing shoulders with US movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and driving million-dollar cars. One of his celebrity contacts, Canadian Ultimate Fighting (UFC) champion Georges St. Pierre, even wrote a letter of support for the drug trafficker that was used in his trial.

SEE ALSO: Sinaloa Cartel Profile

The massive size of Cournoyer's operation was facilitated by his ties to North America's chief drug suppliers and distributors, including the Hells Angels -- who are major drug distributors in Canada -- powerful Italian-American crime families and Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EXTRADITION / 8 AUG 2022

A US request has led Guatemala to dismantle a prolific human smuggling ring that smuggled migrants to the United States.

GULF CARTEL / 30 AUG 2021

It was a Saturday, around 12:30 p.m. local time, when a caravan of three vehicles loaded with well-armed men and…

JALISCO CARTEL / 3 SEP 2021

Criminal groups in Mexico are posting in public lists of police they plan to kill, and the message often comes…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…