Canadian who ran airborne drug-smuggling ring pleads guilty

Officer shoots, wounds suspect in Medford, Oregon

SEATTLE (AP) – A Canadian man who spent nearly a decade fighting his extradition to the U.S. for running a helicopter-based drug-smuggling ring has pleaded guilty.

Colin Hugh Martin, formerly of Malakwa, British Columbia, entered the plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a conspiracy charge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said it would recommend no more than 10 years when he is sentenced in June.

The 46-year-old admitted he headed a drug ring that flew marijuana and MDMA south into Washington state and cocaine north into Canada. One of his pilots, Sam Lindsay-Brown, killed himself in the Spokane County Jail after flying into a law-enforcement set-up in 2009.

In an interview with the Associated Press that year, Martin said he became involved in the drug trade after watching his best friend get killed in a logging accident and seeing the region’s logging industry dry up.