Colin Martin, an accused Malakwa drug smuggler who has already been found guilty of similar offences in Canada, lost his bid to avoid extradition to the U.S. to face drug charges there.
In a B.C. Court of Appeal judgment issued June 13, three appeal court justices concurred with previous court rulings and determined Martin’s reasons for challenging the extradition would be dismissed.
Martin had argued officials in the U.S. improperly handled his case and, by naming him as a would-be informant, put his personal safety at risk. He also argued that the effects of protective custody on his mental health and his Métis heritage would not be considered if he was to be convicted across the border.
The appeal judges considered the February 2016 ruling by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and stated her decision to surrender Martin to U.S. authorities “was not unreasonable.”
The case against Martin focuses on his role in a drug-trafficking organization that was transporting Canadian-produced marijuana and ecstasy across the U.S.-Canadian border and exchanging it for cocaine to be brought back to Canada and sold. Part of the U.S. court proceedings will focus on Martin’s role in procuring helicopters to transport the drugs across the border and land in remote locations between 2007 and 2009.
Martin was charged in 2009 by U.S. officials, along with Sean Doak, James Gregory Cameron and Adam Christian Serrano with the offences. Sam Brown, another B.C. man charged in the case took his own life in a Spokane jail.
In this indictment, it also indicated Martin had contacted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Vancouver and offered to provide ongoing information regarding drug trafficking in the U.S. The indictment also stated, “Martin explained he could identify other co-conspirators and direct law enforcement to drug loads so long as he was allowed to continue his drug business for 10 years and was assured that law enforcement would only arrest other people.”
Martin continues to deny that he ever made those statements, and argued the information in these indictments put his safety at risk.
Indeed, Martin has been warned twice by the RCMP about possible threats to his life.
The U.S. authorities disagree, citing the accuracy of their information and say it was included in the indictment because it was “relevant to the prosecution.” The appeal noted a decision on whether or not Martin made these statements to the DEA is “a matter for the foreign court to determine.”
In the appeal ruling, Justice Gail Dickson said Wilson-Raybould found “Martin jeopardized his safety by his own actions,” and noted he had also commented publicly to the media including interviews with the Eagle Valley News and the CBC about his involvement in drug trafficking.
Martin has served jail sentences in Canada for drug offences. He was arrested by the RCMP in July 2010 and remained in prison until his release in December 2011.
During his incarceration in Canada, Martin was placed in solitary confinement for safety purposes, a move which Martin claims contributed to severe depression and an increased risk of suicide. Martin argued he would face a similar situation if imprisoned in the U.S.
Wilson-Raybould’s original ruling stated there was no evidence that risks to Martin’s health and safety were any greater if he were detained in the United States and they would be able to appropriately treat mental health concerns.
Martin has been residing in Malakwa while his appeal process was underway.
It is not known when the extradition process will take place.