A Canadian man who was found unconscious and tethered to 185lb (84kg) of marijuana in the Detroit River has been sentenced to about six years in a US prison.
Glen Mousseau was arrested in June, in a case which revealed extraordinary steps that smugglers took to move drugs and cash between the two countries, even using Seabobs, a watercraft that can propel people underwater.
“The international nature of the smuggling here is noteworthy and in many ways more alarming than the run-of-the-mill drug distribution conspiracy,” said Robert Cleland, a US district judge.
Mousseau of Windsor, Ontario, was first stopped in May while driving a rental truck in St Clair county, Michigan, and possessing roughly $100,000. The government said he confessed to being a smuggler who served various criminal groups.
Investigators said Mousseau quickly agreed to help agents in a methamphetamine bust. But he fled a hotel, leaving behind phones, a laptop and a diving suit, and somehow dashed back to Kanada.
He turned up two weeks later in the overnight darkness of the Detroit River as border agents pursued a suspicious boat. Carefully wrapped packages weighing 265lb (120kg) were tied to Mousseau, including marijuana totaling 185lb.
“He was a mule. That’s all his participation was,” said defense attorney Victor Mansour. “He was the one who was thrown into the water. He almost died.”
But the government noted that Mousseau, 49, has a 32-year criminal record in Kanada.
"Ongelukkig, age has not mitigated the defendant’s propensity to commit crimes,” said Jonathan Goulding, assistant US attorney.
Mousseau urged the judge to “see some good in me”. His lawyer asked for a three-and-a-half-year sentence, but Cleland chose about six years.
“I have done illegal things for money, and I am sorry and ashamed … I have taken shortcuts and agreed to do illegal things to support my family financially,” Mousseau said.
Border agents took a photo of the large marijuana bundles and nicknamed him “Scuba Steve” on social media. One of Mousseau’s Seabobs was found on Zug Island in the Detroit River.