BILLINGS – Two Canadians who helped smuggle an estimated $5.5 million worth of ecstasy pills into the United States and were caught near Glendive will each spend four years in federal prison.
A traffic stop last year on Interstate 94 led to officers finding 223,819 Ecstasy pills weighing 141 pounds. Police said the ecstasy bust was one of the largest in Montana history.
Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull on Friday sentenced 20-year-old Alan James Mulder and 20-year-old Christian Laurin, both of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Each pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to possess ecstasy for distribution.
Mulder and Laurin were roommates. They testified against a third co-defendant, 32-year-old Timothy M. Morneau, also of Winnipeg. He was convicted in January of conspiracy and possession counts. Morneau is awaiting sentencing.
Mulder and Laurin initially faced a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine but cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for consideration at sentencing, the Billings Gazette reported. Neither defendant had a criminal record.
The three men were headed for California on Feb. 9 of last year when a Montana Highway Patrol trooper stopped their vehicle outside Glendive because a headlight was out. A search of Mulder’s car turned up large, heat-sealed plastic bags of Ecstasy pills in duffle bags.
Mulder testified that he and Laurin were roommates and that another roommate asked if they would help transport drugs. They agreed because they wanted to make some money and left the same day with Morneau.
Mulder and Laurin crossed the border in the car near Deloraine, Manitoba, while Morneau used a stolen snowmobile to cross the border with the drugs. The three met up in Bottineau, N.D., and headed west.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.