A Surrey man has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for his role in a cross-border drug-smuggling case that involved a 24-hour manhunt for his co-accused in April of this year.
Jeffrey Laviolette, 37, previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced last Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Wash. on charges of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Three other charges were dismissed: aiding and abetting the possession of ecstasy, conspiracy to import ecstasy, and aiding and abetting the importation of ecstasy.
Laviolette and co-accused Nathan Hall (photo at left), 36, were arrested in early April when they were spotted by border agents as they were walking through a forested area across the U.S.-Canada border from Abbotsford to Sumas, Wash.
The pair fled, and Hall allegedly fired shots at the agents. Laviolette was apprehended on the scene, but Hall escaped, leading to a day-long manhunt involving authorities on both sides of the border.
Two backpacks that were dropped by the pair as they were running were seized by American authorities and found to contain 58.5 pounds of the drug ecstasy, according to court documents at the time.
Hall was arrested by Abbotsford Police at an apartment in the city early the next morning.
Both Laviolette and Hall were on B.C. Crime Stoppers’ “most wanted” list prior to their arrests. Laviolette was wanted for suspension of his national parole, while Hall was wanted in Kelowna for charges of theft and breaching his probation.
Laviolette has been in custody in the U.S. since his arrest.
Hall was jailed in B.C. and has not yet answered to his charges in the U.S. He faces the same five charges with which Laviolette was initially charged.
Two Americans – Ryan Lambert and Kali Henifin (photo at left) – were also charged in relation to the case.
The pair had allegedly planned to pick up the drugs from Hall and Laviolette, and transport the ecstasy to San Francisco for $11,000, according to court documents.
Both Lambert and Henifin have pleaded guilty.
Lambert is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 10, and Henifin on April 11.