B.C. pilot, 61, gets 10 years for flying marijuana to U.S.
Marijuana plants grow at the Northwest Patient Resource Center medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Wash., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP / Ted S. Warren)
Published Wednesday, November 7, 2012 8:12PM EST
SEATTLE, Wash. - A 61-year-old B.C. helicopter pilot has been sentenced in a Seattle court to 10 years in an American prison for smuggling drugs into the United States.
U.S. justice officials say Henry Rosenau of Armstrong admitted to flying dozens of loads of marijuana into forested areas of Washington, Idaho and Montana between 2000 and 2005.
He pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to import marijuana, just hours before he was to go on trial for a second time after his first trial in April ended in a hung jury.
In his plea agreement, Rosenau also admitted that he flew Canadians into the U.S. to help unload and transport the drugs.
Justice officials say Rosenau was first spotted by a U.S. investigation launched in 2005 that identified organized crime groups smuggling B.C. marijuana by helicopter into the U.S., and smuggling cocaine north into Canada.
They say Rosenau was charged the next year, but fought extradition from Canada and filed lawsuits against witnesses, law enforcement and prosecutors before he was finally handed over to American authorities.