Man charged in plot to bring cocaine to Vermont from Peru

WILSON RING

A 39-year-old Montreal man is facing a cocaine trafficking charge that was part of a broader effort to transport 1,500 kilos (3,300 pounds) of the drug from Peru to Vermont, federal court documents say.

The court documents do not say what the ultimate destination of the cocaine was, but a number of people involved in the deal were from Canada.

Apparently none of the cocaine reached the intended destination.

Court records say Georges Yaghmour was arrested in Florida last month and was charged with conspiring to distribute more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine. His attorney did not return a call and email Monday seeking comment.

A federal court affidavit filed in Burlington said the cocaine was part of the same plan that resulted in the kidnapping of a couple from Moira, New York, in late September. The couple was smuggled across the border to Canada before being rescued by police in Quebec.

The court documents say Yaghmour was involved in a meeting in the lobby of a Burlington hotel on Dec. 5, 2019 with a suspect identified in court papers as Co-Conspirator 1, who had entered the United States from Canada earlier that day, and others identified as belonging to the Transportation Group.

A member of the Transportation Group said they wanted to bring the cocaine to a warehouse in Vermont.

Yaghmour and Co-Conspirator 1 reported they had 1,500 kilos of cocaine they wanted picked up over time, the court documents say. The Transportation Group said they would be able to pick it up in 500-kilo (1,100-pound) increments.

On Dec. 19, 2019 DEA agents witnessed Co-Conspirator 1 deliver $150,000 to a member of the Transportation Group as a down payment on the transport of the cocaine.

In September of this year, the DEA disrupted two deliveries that were part of the plan, the South Burlington case that led to the alleged kidnapping and a second seizure in Framingham, Massachusetts.

On Nov. 13 of this year, DEA agents monitored communication between Yaghmour and a member of the Transportation Group.

The communications “all refer to Yaghmour's frustrations with the fact that none of the cocaine he had arranged to be delivered by the Transportation Group had been delivered," the affidavit said.

Yaghmour agreed to meet the Transportation Group member in south Florida on Nov. 17. Records show Yaghmour was booked on a flight from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 16.

Yaghmour appeared in court in Florida on Nov. 18. He was indicted by a Vermont grand jury on Dec. 3.