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QC:Captured fugitive 'Godfather of Grass' has detention hear

by papapuff » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:37 pm

Montreal Gazette



Captured fugitive 'Godfather of Grass' has detention hearing in Montreal

PAUL CHERRY, MONTREAL GAZETTE
Published on: December 23, 2016

An American fugitive who was dubbed the Godfather of Grass because of run-ins with the law involving the large-scale production of marijuana, is scheduled to have a detention review hearing inside a provincial detention centre in Montreal on Friday.

John Robert Boone, 73, was arrested by the Montreal police Thursday afternoon at a shopping centre, at the corner of Ste-Catherine St. W. and Atwater St., putting an end to search by police that lasted eight years. He had been sought by the Kentucky State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service since 2008. He was detained overnight at the Rivière des Prairies Detention Centre and is scheduled to have a detention review there before a member of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board.

This hearing will determine whether Boone will remain detained while he awaits his deportation to the U.S. Normally, such hearings are held in public at the IRB’s downtown offices at Complexe Guy Favreau but low staffing levels at the detention centre did not allow for a transfer Friday morning.

According to a statement issued by the Montreal police, their role in the investigation began in September and Boone was found with help from other law enforcement agencies.

According to reports published in 2008, a warrant was issued for Boone’s arrest after Kentucky State Police doing aerial surveillance spotted marijuana plants on trailers on Boone’s farm in Springfield, Ky. A raid of the property turned up 2,400 plants but Boone was nowhere to be found.


Boone came to be known as the Godfather of Grass during a case where, in 1988, he was convicted, in Minnesota, as being part of a co-operative of 29 marijuana growing farms. The group that ran the farms came to be known as the Cornbread Mafia. While the case was at trial, prosecutors called it the largest domestic marijuana syndicate in American history. Boone was sentenced to more than 10 years following his conviction in 1988.

An article published by a newspaper in West Virginia in 2010 noted that Boone fugitive status had earned him as folk-hero status in Kentucky where supporters could by “Run, Johnny, Run” t-shirts and link to a Facebook page with the same title. As of Friday, the Facebook page had more than 3,700 followers.

pcherry@postmedia.com
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by papapuff » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:48 pm

montrealgazette.com




'Godfather of Grass' to appear at extradition hearing in Montreal

CHRISTOPHER CURTIS, MONTREAL GAZETTE
Published on: December 29, 2016 |

A Kentucky man known as the “Godfather of Grass” will appear at an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in Montreal Thursday to begin the process of extradition to the United States.

John Robert Boone, 73, was arrested at a shopping centre on Atwater Ave. last week after spending eight years on the lam. The U.S. Marshall Service had been after Boone since police seized 2,400 marijuana plants on his Kentucky farm in 2008.

Boone was a reputed member of what American prosecutors called the “Cornbread Mafia” — a syndicate accused of growing 182 tons of marijuana on 29 farms in 10 states during the 1980s. He spent over 10 years in prison after being convicted in connection with the drug ring.

Montreal police opened an investigation into his whereabouts after being tipped off by the American authorities that Boone might be in Canada. Police say he did not resist arrest when they apprehended him in the west-downtown shopping mall on Dec. 22.

Because police consider him a flight risk, the 73-year-old has been behind bars since his arrest. It’s unclear how long Boone had been in country but police say he crossed the border illegally.
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by papapuff » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:41 pm

brandonsun.com



'Godfather of Grass' to remain detained in Montreal under deportation order

By: Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

MONTREAL - The American fugitive dubbed the "Godfather of Grass'' will remain detained pending his deportation after the immigration board ruled Tuesday he still represents a flight risk and danger to the public.

There is "no clear and compelling reason" to depart from a previous decision to keep John Robert Boone detained, said immigration board member Marisa Mousto.

Boone, 73, has been on the run from U.S. authorities since 2008 and was arrested while illegally in Montreal last December.

He spent more than a decade in a U.S. federal prison after being convicted in the late '80s in what prosecutors called the "largest domestic marijuana syndicate in American history."

Mousto said "due to the nature of the offence and gravity of the sentence," she maintained the board's opinion he was a danger to the public.

"He represents a high flight risk in my opinion," Mousto continued. "There appears to be an active arrest warrant in the United States, he appears to be facing charges in that country and, therefore, he would have no interest to return there."

Boone has been a wanted man in the United States since authoritizes allegedly seized 2,400 marijuana plants on his Kentucky farm in 2008, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Several aspects of Boone's case are under a publication ban.

His lawyer, Tony Jedid, told the board Tuesday that Boone is having trouble remembering parts of the immigration board proceedings.

As a consequence, Jedid asked that the board appoint Boone a designated representative who would have authority to make decisions on his behalf.

A designated representative is named when someone is deemed unable to understand the nature of the proceedings.
Mousto denied the request, saying she had no information justifiying that claim.

The deportation order came down in January but no date has been announced for Boone's removal.

His next immigration board hearing is scheduled for March 17.
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by papapuff » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:26 pm

The Courier-Journal



Legendary pot grower Johnny Boone, leader of Kentucky's 'Cornbread Mafia,' back in U.S.

Andrew Wolfson , @adwolfson Published 4:20 p.m. ET April 5, 2017

John “Johnny” Boone, the leader of Kentucky’s “Cornbread Mafia,” once the nation's largest domestic marijuana producing organization, is back in the United States after eight years on the lam.

Boone, who was once featured on “America’s Most Wanted,” was apprehended in Canada in December 2016 and was ordered detained Wednesday after appearing in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont, about 90 miles south of Montreal.

He had been extradited to the U.S. and will be transported to Louisville soon, according to Kraig LaPorte, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Burlington. Wendy McCormick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Louisville, said it could be a week or two before he is flown to Louisville on a U.S. Marshal Service flight.

Boone, 73, a legendary figure in central Kentucky, faces charges on a 2008 indictment that accused him of growing and distributing marijuana on his farm in Springfield, where more than 2,400 marijuana plants allegedly were found by Kentucky State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The government is also trying to force him to forfeit cash, vehicles, a handgun and an AR-15 rifle.

He fled after a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Federal prosecutors in Vermont requested his detention, saying he faces a long prison term and at age 73 has a strong incentive to flee. The motion also noted that he’d lived illegally in Canada for eight years, “which alone renders him a flight risk.”

The Cornbread Mafia, a group of mostly Kentuckians, pooled their money, machinery, knowledge and labor to produce $350 million in pot seized in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin, prosecutors said in 1989.

The organization operated on isolated farms in nine Midwestern states, some of which were guarded by bears and lions, and by workers described by the government as a "paramilitary force.” Boone’s exploits were the subject of a book, “Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate's Code Of Silence And The Biggest Marijuana Bust In American History,” by Kentucky freelance writer James Higdon.

U.S. Attorney Joe Whittle said in 1989 that marijuana had been seized at 29 sites, including 25 farms outside Kentucky. Sixty-four Kentucky residents were charged, 49 of whom lived in Marion County.

The detention motion says Boone’s criminal history extends to 1969 and includes a 1985 conviction for marijuana possession with intention to distribute, for which he was sentenced to five years, and another conviction for unlawful manufacture of 1,000 plants or more, for which he was sentenced to 20 years and paroled in 1999.

Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at (502) 582-7189 or awolfson@courier-journal.com.
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