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Rochester drug kingpin sentenced to life in prison

STAFF REPORTS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Colin B. Montague, 63, of Greece, NY, who was convicted after a seven-week jury trial of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, drug conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering, was sentenced to serve life in prison by U.S. Chief District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. The judge also ordered a $10,000,000 money judgment against the defendant, which represented the gross proceeds Montague obtained from the criminal enterprise.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert A. Marangola and Brett A. Harvey, who handled the prosecution of the case, stated that the defendant was the head of a national cocaine trafficking organization involving individuals in Rochester, NY; Arizona; California; and Nevada. Through the organization, Montague was responsible for arranging the transportation of several hundred kilograms of cocaine from the western United States to the Rochester area between 2008 and June 2014. The organization used various methods for transporting the cocaine, including tractor-trailers, drug couriers, and sending packages of cocaine through the U.S mail. After receiving the shipments, the defendant and other members of the organization would distribute the cocaine to other upper-level and mid-level drug traffickers in the Rochester area. 

The organization was uncovered by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Rochester Police Department after a wiretap investigation culminated in the seizure of a six-kilogram shipment of cocaine from a courier as the drugs were being transported from Pennsylvania to Rochester. After seizure of that drug shipment, Montague fled to Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived under a false identity for six months until he was captured by the United States Marshals Service.

The defendant also owned and operated Montague Enterprise, Inc., a real estate business in Rochester. During the conspiracy, Montague laundered more than $2,350,000 in drug proceeds through bank accounts associated with the real estate business. Also, the defendant purchased six properties in the Rochester area using drug proceeds. As part of the sentence, Montague was ordered to forfeit of sums of money from the sale of 19 real properties owned by Montague Enterprises, Inc. that were sold by the U.S. Marshals and that represented either proceeds of the narcotics enterprise or were involved in money laundering.

 “The life sentence imposed upon this defendant should serve as a warning to those who seek to enrich themselves by selling drugs and, in so doing, destroying the lives of others,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy.  “At this point, all of money in the world would be insufficient to purchase the defendant even one second of freedom, and thus, in the end, his conduct literally cost him everything—in fact, even his own life can be added to the list of those destroyed by his drug-dealing.”

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt; the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Mark Simmons; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge; and the United States Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Charles Salina.