Authorities found almost 300 pounds of cocaine on the international plane that unexpectedly landed at Ohio University’s Gordon K. Bush airport in Albany on Wednesday.
Two Canadian men are facing federal drug charges after a Homeland Security investigation revealed the men illegally attempted to transport cocaine on the plane, according to a news release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Sylvain Desjardins, 57, and David Ayotte, 46, both from the Quebec area, initially appeared in federal court in Columbus on charges of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security contacted the OU Police Department and the Athens County Sheriff’s Office at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to let law enforcement know about the plane’s arrival. Upon arrival, the pilot told police that mechanical problems forced him to land at OU’s airport while he was flying to Canada.
Customs and Border Protection requested that Desjardins and Ayotte be detained until federal agents arrived because OU’s airport is not an international port of entry.
Customs and Border Protection agents and Homeland Security special agents then interviewed the men after the unauthorized landing. A canine helped discover nearly 300 pounds of a “powdery substance,” which tested positive as cocaine, according to the release.
The plane is a privately owned Canadian airplane based in Lachute, Quebec, according to information from the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register database.
Homeland Security is working with Customs and Border Protection, OUPD and the Athens County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation. Canadian authorities have also been contacted and are assisting in the investigation.
Homeland Security took custody of the occupants and the suspected cocaine and has assumed control of the investigation, according to an OUPD news release.