When love turns sour and one of the parties has the taste of revenge on their lips, there’s no telling what they’ll do to get back at the lover who slighted them. But what happens when your ex is the biggest dealer in New York?
When Jimmy split up with his girlfriend and mother of his child after many years together, he never thought she would snitch on him and turn him in to the police. But when love turns to angst, anything’s possible. The takedown was remarkable…
It was a normal day in January when Jimmy’s disgruntled ex-girlfriend decided it would be a good idea to rat out her boyfriend who was a big pot dealer in Queens. After walking into the Drug Enforcement Administration office on Long Island, the bitter women gave agents chapter and verse about her former boyfriend Jimmy and his antics.
While the agents over at the DEA weren’t used to accepting people off the street in this way, they made an exception for this woman who had her and Jimmy’s baby in tow, just for maximum effect. When the agents heard all she had to say, even they were in shock at first…
A Woman Scorned
Whatever Jimmy did to upset his girlfriend, he paid for it a thousandfold after she spilled the beans to the agents that day. What began as tale-telling from a scorned woman would soon turn into a seven-year criminal investigation which even went beyond the agents’ wildest dreams.
Jimmy Cournoyer was born to a French Canadian family and spoke both English and French fluently. Having spent more than a decade trafficking huge quantities of cannabis throughout New York, Jimmy was a playboy and always had stunning girls by his side, usually three at a time…
Despite being a criminal due to the drug dealing, Jimmy had what can only be described as a very interesting life. As well as being a martial-arts expert, he also had a serious taste for fast, expensive cars and liked to race through the streets of New York showing off his latest purchase.
Where money is concerned there will always be someone using someone else to make a quick buck, and Jimmy was an expert manipulator. He even had underlings to do his dirty work, including Native Americans who he usually used as smugglers, as well as Hells Angels and Mexican money launderers…
The cannabis operation that Jimmy ran was a massive one and sometimes was more like something out of a James Bond movie than anything else. Jimmy would ship man-sized bales of cannabis across borders using motorboats and even snowmobiles. But for more than a decade Jimmy wasn’t caught, and if it weren’t for his ex-girlfriend, he probably never would have been.
According to the investigators, Jimmy laundered in excess of $1 billion during his drug-dealing career. While most of that cash was laundered through the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel, and ferried back to Canada in pickup trucks, other huge amounts were laundered through organizations like offshore banks…
There’s no doubt about it, Jimmy Cournoyer was respected highly by the very men who were seeking his demise. New York Federal prosecutor Steven L. Tiscione, who supervised the task force who caught Jimmy said, “We never saw anything like this guy before. In terms of his longevity and scope, and the connections he had around the world, nothing, nobody, comes close.”
Jimmy had made the bigtime and his lifestyle professed to that in almost every way. At the height of his career, Jimmy was seen driving a Porsche Cayenne and also owned a $2 million limited-edition Bugatti Veyron. More than that, he also had some high flying friends and was said to have attended parties with A-list celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio…
Over the years, Jimmy had been arrested for dealing weed a number of times, but no serious charges were ever brought against him. At just 18, Jimmy and his brother Joey were growing and selling cannabis from their apartment. In 1998, Jimmy was found guilty for selling drugs but avoided a jail sentence and only got probation. Two years later and he was caught again, selling baggies from his Jeep at the Kanesatake Mohawk reservation. He pleaded guilty but also got away without jail time.
It was many years in the making but cops finally got a solid lead and went in for the proverbial kill. Third time round Jimmy wasn’t so lucky after he was caught by an undercover officer at the Hilton in Toronto where he tried to sell 10,000 ecstasy tablets for $65,000. Jimmy tried to run but was captured and taken into custody…
Not Done Yet
However, nothing was going to stop this man easily, and even while in jail Jimmy was still running drugs across borders. As the prosecutor wrote in a legal memo at the time, “Determined to never again be found in the compromising position of physically touching narcotics, Cournoyer began expanding his roster of associates and installing additional layers of subordinates between himself” and the drugs.
Right Hand Man
As Jimmy sat in jail doing hard time, his right-hand man, Patrick Paisse, who was from Quebec and only had one leg, was arranging deals. On one occasion he arranged for the Hells Angels to drive massive amounts of cannabis from fields in British Colombia to America. The sophisticated greenhouse factories he operated were equipped with special air filters, off-the-grid- power systems and were all hidden beneath oversized tarps…
Stop At Nothing
While he was inside, Jimmy instructed Patrick to make contact with Native American smugglers who were his friends. They would move their cannabis south across the St. Lawrence River, using small boats in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. This man would stop at nothing to sell his wares, and even prison didn’t stop him.
After five long years of flipping witnesses, setting up wiretaps and doing late night stakeouts, authorities finally had a case to bring Jimmy Cournoyer down. A Brooklyn grand jury indicted him on drug conspiracy charges in 2012, but a month later he tried to abscond to Cancun. But this time, his luck had run out…
Jimmy may have thought at the time that it was a good idea to fly to Cancun but he was wrong. As soon as he landed he was arrested by Mexican authorities who detained him based on Interpol intelligence. The Mexicans tried to put him on a flight three times back to the U.S. to face justice, but each time he threatened to “harm the captain and the crew.” Eventually, he was hooded and put on a flight to Houston.
The agents working the case had put in so many hours that they just had to secure a conviction against this man. In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors argued that the operation Cournoyer ran was a violent one and one that led to other criminal gangs killing people for money and drugs. Nevertheless, his friends and family all vouched for him, penning a letter to the Brooklyn court praising Jimmy as “good-natured.”
Love Of Money
When it came down to it, Jimmy was simply obsessed with money; plain and simple. As McMahon, Jimmy’s attorney explained, “There’s a lot of weed smokers here on the Eastern Seaboard, a lot of them. That’s why he came to New York, for the capitalist markets. It was basically a Karl Marx kind of thing.”
After he was extradited back to Houston and taken in front of a grand jury, Cournoyer finally pleaded guilty to two charges: conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cannabis and cocaine and money laundering. He was sentenced to 27 years in jail despite the numerous pleas to the judge for clemency. Then again, many people think that 27 years was a light sentence for man who ran the biggest drug dealing operation in New York history.