Saint Hyacinth, Quebec resident Manuel Torres was pulled over by New York police while speeding on the Northway as reported by The Post-Star of Glens Falls. Shortly after, 20-year-old Torres was approached by another St. Hyacinth local, 25-year-old Antoine Benoit who pulled over just behind Torres. Benoit then told Torres that he would be in New York City in 45 minutes, arousing police suspicion reports the Montreal Gazette.
When police questioned Benoit on his connection to Torres, Benoit claimed there was none. Trooper Brian Russell, the one who stopped the pair of St. Hyacinthe residents, went on to say “Your story doesn’t make much sense” and later reported “After the suspects failed to provide logical answers to the officer’s questions, police searched the vans to find 180 (80 kg) pounds of cannabis and $3,400 cash.”
According to court records, Torres and Benoit were then arrested. Court records also show that the men allegedly crossed the U.S.-Canadian border illegally with the goal of selling the pot in Boston. Court records show that Benoit was the “security” in the operation and that Torres, the driver apparently did not know he was delivering pot stating “I don’t know. I’m just driving them. I’m told where to go and I drive to that address.” The two suspects were charged by a New York court with fourth-degree conspiracy charges and felony counts of marijuana possession.
The two were then sent to Warren County Jail after pleading not guilty.
The arrest of the two men are part of an ongoing investigation by U.S. police of organized movement of cannabis from Canada to large cities on the U.S. east coast. Torres later pleaded guilty to his charges and agreed to a plea deal where his jail time would be reduced from a year to eight months if he maintains good behaviour. Benoit’s status as of the time of writing is currently unknown.