Saratoga County

No prison time for bike racer turned drug runner

Former mountain bike racer Melissa “Missy” Giove apologized to the court and to her family Wednesday

Former mountain bike racer Melissa “Missy” Giove apologized to the court and to her family Wednesday morning for her role in a marijuana trafficking ring.

Giove also told U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe that she knows her decisions hurt people and the community. “This isn’t anything I would ever be involved in ever again,” she said.

Sharpe ultimately sentenced Giove to time served, about a week in custody, and five years’ supervised release, six months of it in home detention. He also ordered her to perform 500 hours of community service.

Sharpe found that Giove’s involvement in the conspiracy was less than that of one codefendant, Eric Canori, but more than another, Robert Reinfurt. Reinfurt received a similar disposition, time served, though with no home detention and less community service. Canori is to be sentenced in January.

Sharpe said he had to balance the risk to the public and respect for the law. But he said the most important aspect was that Giove has been free on $250,000 bail for nearly 2 1⁄2 years without incident. He also noted her lack of a criminal history.

Giove, 38, of Chesapeake, Va., was arrested along with Canori in June 2009 in Wilton, accused of making a high-stakes transaction involving approximately 350 pounds of marijuana she trucked from California to Preserve Way in Wilton. Federal Drug Enforcement Agency officials confiscated the marijuana as well as $1.47 million in cash at the Wilton home.

Giove, who won several national downhill mountain bike racing titles during her career, pleaded guilty to one of the several charges on which DEA agents arrested her. Federal prosecutors had sought a total sentence for Giove of 24 to 30 months in federal prison.

But Giove and her attorney Timothy Austin argued for leniency, as did family and friends, through letters to the court.

Before the proceedings began, Giove hugged her spouse, Kristen D. Hofheimer Giove, one of a dozen family members and friends present for the sentencing. Afterward, still free, Giove hugged her again. They declined comment.

Hofheimer Giove, though, broached the topic of home confinement in her letter to the court, saying Giove’s medical needs could be better tended to at home.

In court, Austin also emphasized Giove’s physical health. He noted that while she was once a world-class and world-champion mountain biker, that is in the distant past. She now has an injured brain, something that family and friends suggested in letters contributed to her involvement in the trafficking.

Giove is expected to serve the home detention in Virginia, Austin said later. She won’t be able to leave the home without permission and may have to wear an ankle bracelet, he said.

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