Man charged in attempt to steal drugs smuggled in on sled

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A North Carolina man intended to steal almost 200 pounds of counterfeit Xanax pills that a Quebec man had smuggled into the United States on a sled before the Canadian man was apprehended in Vermont, federal investigators said.

Yazid Al Fayyad Finn was arrested earlier this month in North Carolina and charged with attempting to possess the drug, according to federal court documents.

Finn traveled to Vermont in January 2016 after learning on the internet that a load of “counterfeit Xanax” was going to be smuggled from Quebec to Vermont, according to an affidavit. He later told agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that stealing the pills — which authorities said had a street value of $1.6 million — would be “like hitting the lottery.”

Finn told agents he was involved in the distribution of Xanax in the Greenville, North Carolina, area and he sold the pills for $3 to $5 each.

Robert Bell, a representative of the Federal Public Defender’s for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said Finn is in the process of being transferred to Vermont. He had no further comment.

Cedrik Bourgault-Morin, then 21, of Quebec, was wearing white camouflage in the early morning hours of Jan. 13, 2016, when U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended him. They said he was pulling a sled containing 300 vacuum-sealed bags of Xanax into the United States at Troy, Vermont.

At around the same time and about a half mile away, another agent in an unmarked car spotted Finn in a vehicle. Finn told agents he had come to Vermont to go skiing at the nearby Jay Peak resort.

Two days later, Finn texted an acquaintance a link to a news report about Bourgault-Morin’s case and wrote: “Here’s why I was up north, PS, and wasted a trip.”

The affidavit did not say how Finn could have known about the drug smuggling attempt in advance beyond that he saw it on the internet.

Bourgault-Morin later pleaded guilty. He was released from prison in November 2016.

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