Pilot of plane loaded with cocaine that landed in Ohio pleads guilty

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COLUMBUS, OH (AP) – The Canadian pilot of an Ontario-bound plane that landed in southern Ohio because of engine problems with 290 pounds (132 kilograms) of cocaine onboard has pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 48-year-old Sylvain Desjardins entered his plea Friday to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. A judge ordered Desjardins to remain jailed until sentencing.

Desjardins landed the twin-engine plane at Ohio University’s airport in March after an engine began smoking. The plane was met by sheriff’s deputies, university police officers and federal agents. U.S. Customs and Border Protection had tracked the Windsor, Ontario-bound plane after it left the Bahamas.

Desjardins’ attorney says his client has refused to cooperate with authorities.

A passenger, 46-year-old David Ayotte, pleaded guilty to a drug charge last month.

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