The Canadian man who landed a cocaine-laden plane at Ohio University’s Gordon K. Bush Airport in March has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Sylvain Desjardins, 57, will not pay a fine. He must surrender the plane he landed as a consequence of his conviction. 

David Ayotte, 46, the passenger in the plane, was sentenced to five years and three months in prison Oct. 12.

The two men, both from the Quebec area in Canada, landed at the Gordon K. Bush Airport without authorization March 29. Gordon K. Bush Airport is not a port of entry, meaning no one can legally enter the U.S. there. Authorities discovered about 300 pounds of cocaine on the plane.

The flight began in the Bahamas and was initially destined for Canada, but Desjardins and Ayotte landed at the airport in Albany, about 12 miles southwest of Athens, after discovering their plane had mechanical problems. The Department of Homeland Security warned the OU Police Department that the plane was approaching. 

The two men were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Possessing more than 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute is punishable by life in prison and a maximum fine of $10 million. The mandatory minimum sentence is 10 years. The men are accused of transporting about 132 kilograms, or just under 300 pounds, on the plane.


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