Eric Canori of Saratoga Springs was sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in federal prison in a coast-to-coast drug trafficking case that involved hundreds of pounds of marijuana and millions of dollars.
The high stakes case also involved former mountain bike racing champion Melissa “The Missile” Giove, who drove a truckload of marijuana from Colonie to a house in Wilton in June 2009, not knowing police were following her.
United States District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe on Tuesday sentenced Canori, 33, to 30 months of imprisonment and four years of supervised release for his role in the marijuana distribution conspiracy, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.
When state police and Drug Enforcement Administration agents apprehended Canori on June 16, 2009, at an upscale house he was renting in Wilton, they found more than 200 pounds of marijuana and $1.4 million in cash. The shipment of marijuana Giove delivered to Canori had been driven cross-country from California. She had flown into Albany to make the last leg of the drug delivery.
The wide-ranging investigation led to the recovery of precious metals and other proceeds of the drug conspiracy at the Wilton house and a house Canori had in Ross, Calif. Their value was more than $11.28 million, authorities said Tuesday.
Canori pleaded guilty in June 2011 to one federal count of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. He will report to a designated U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to start his sentence Jan. 8.
Beginning in 2008, authorities said, Canori was a part of a marijuana distribution conspiracy that involved the cross-country trafficking of marijuana from the West Coast to various destinations on the East Coast, including Saratoga County.
Hartunian praised the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that participated in this investigation.
“Drug trafficking never ends with a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Nothing good comes from doing something bad, especially cross country drug distribution,” said DEA Special Agent Brian R. Crowell.
Canori, who was out on bail awaiting trial, was arrested again in March 2011 at his Wilton residence after police said he accepted a duffel bag from an undercover federal agent containing more than $400,000. Police said it was proceeds from drug sales that had been “laundered” through other individuals and were being returned to Canori in cash.
Giove pleaded guilty to a single count of attempted possession of marijuana with intent to sell in December 2009. She was sentenced in late 2011 to six months’ home detention and five years’ probation. Her attorney said in court that when head injuries ended her mountain biking career, she turned to drug trafficking to make money.
Giove won 14 national mountain bike titles and was world champion downhill bike racer in 1994.