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Drug kingpin convicted

Maximum penalty is life in prison

By: Bennett Loudon//June 4, 2018

Drug kingpin convicted

Maximum penalty is life in prison

By: Bennett Loudon//June 4, 2018//

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The seven-week trial of the leader of a huge Rochester-based drug trafficking operation was convicted of all charges Monday in U.S. District Court.

The defendant, Colin Montague, was initially charged along with about 14 other co-defendants. Most of them pleaded guilty to charges and many testified against Montague for the prosecution.

Between about 2008 and July 2014 Montague’s organization used cocaine suppliers in California and Arizona to run a drug-dealing enterprise in Rochester.

“The operation was highly organized and compartmentalized and, ultimately, lucrative,” according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The operation sold more than 650 pounds of cocaine and generated about $10 million in proceeds, according to court records.

Montague is facing a potential sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 18 by U.S. District Court Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr.

The case relied heavily on recordings from about 20 cell phone wiretaps and video recordings from cameras placed at key locations in Rochester and Scranton, Pa.

At the end of June 2014 law enforcement authorities executed a series of search warrants that led to the seizure of large quantities of cash, drugs, guns, cell phones, and money-counting equipment.

At Montague’s home in Greece, authorities found ledgers that detailed Montague’s customers, workers, amounts of cocaine distributed, prices charged, and money owed and paid.

During the trial prosecutors showed that Montague laundered the proceeds of the drug trafficking operation partly by buying dozens of properties in Rochester and Cleveland.

In 2007, Montague started a real estate business named Montague Enterprises, Inc. (MEI). From October 2007 through June 2014, when he was arrested, MEI bought and sold residential properties in Rochester and Cleveland. By June 2014, Montague owned 35 properties.

Prosecutors showed that between September 2007 and June 2014 more than $5.4 million was deposited into banks accounts controlled by Montague.

Montague also used money orders to launder the proceeds of drug sales. He had MEI “workers” buy money orders with the cash from the drug sales and the money orders would be deposited into the MEI bank account, supposedly to pay for phony services.

Montague was represented at trial by attorney Maurice J. Verrillo.

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