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Ontario woman sentenced to 6 months in federal custody for smuggling drugs

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AKWESANE - An Akwesasne woman has been sentenced to six months in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for her role in smuggling oxycodone through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.

Donna Benedict, 34, formerly known as Donna Lazore, Cornwall Island, Ont.,was also sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court, Utica, to three years’ probation for a December 2010 guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone.

Her husband, Nathan Benedict, 34, was sentenced Aug. 12 to 37 months in federal custody for a March 2011 guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute a controlled substance. He also was ordered to undergo an additional three years of supervision upon his release.

According to a plea agreement filed with the court, the Benedicts smuggled large quantities of the drug from Canada into the United States through the reservation between July and September 2010.

The agreement states that the Benedicts obtained oxycodone from a source in Canada and resold the drug to others on the reservation and in Franklin County, with the others in turn reselling the drugs.

Sometime in August 2010, a customer of the organization contacted Mrs. Benedict by text message and ordered 80 tablets of oxycodone, which Mr. Benedict was able to obtain from his source in Canada. The Benedicts then met with the individual and sold the drugs for about $4,000. According to court documents, the tablets sell on the street for about $75 to $100 each. The Benedicts also sold an individual 200 tablets in September 2010, according to the plea agreement.

Three men who purchased oxycodone from the Benedicts have also entered guilty pleas to the conspiracy.

Shane Duston, 23, Fort Covington; Neal Lauzon, 30, Plattsburgh; and Anthony King, age and address not available; have been sentenced to an unspecified amount of time served in custody and ordered to undergo three years of supervised release.

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