Kayaker charged with possessing 26 lbs. of cocaine on Lake Champlain

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:39 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Rhode Island man has been charged in Vermont with possessing 26 pounds of cocaine with the intent to distribute it after federal authorities observed him putting packages into a kayak on Lake Champlain near the Canadian border, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The U.S. attorney’s office said agents encountered Freddy Rodriguez, 38, of West Warwick, Rhode Island, behind a rented camp in Highgate on the night of Sept. 18 and into September 19, according to court documents. The agents say they saw him walk to the shores of Lake Champlain with a bag. After agents got word that a vessel had entered the United States on the lake and was traveling south near the camp, they say they saw Rodriguez load objects from a bag into a kayak and start to drag the boat into the water, according to court documents.

Rodriguez tried to flee when agents confronted him but was apprehended. The objects in the kayak were brick-like packages containing a white powder that tested presumptively positive for the presence of cocaine, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Rodriguez could spend between five and 40 years in prison if convicted. He was released on conditions of pre-trial supervision after a detention hearing Monday. An email was sent to his attorney seeking comment.

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