1 of America's most wanted fugitives is nabbed by bicycle-riding Montreal police
Laotian-Canadian, 35, alleged to be drug-smuggling ringleader with 'history of violence,' may face extradition
After eluding top U.S. law enforcement for more than a decade, one of America's most wanted fugitives and the suspected ringleader of a powerful drug-smuggling organization was caught by two bicycle-mounted police officers in Montreal.
Katay-Khaophone Sychanta, a 35-year-old dual citizen of Laos and Canada, was arrested Aug. 23 by officers on bike path patrol in the city's Saint-Laurent borough.
He was nabbed at the Bois-Franc train station after attempting to flee from the officers, one of whom got off his bike and chased the suspect down on foot.
The officers had suspected Sychanta and a second man of possessing drugs.
Police say Sychanta gave the officers fake U.S. identification, but fingerprinting later revealed a different identity.
"Luckily, with the identification we were able to locate a man that was wanted for three years," said Montreal police spokesperson Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant.
May face extradition
A native of Laos, Sychanta, whose last name is also spelled Sychantha, was on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's list of 10 most wanted fugitives.
He was first indicted in Michigan in 2005 for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
But Sychanta evaded capture and allegedly continued to supervise a drug smuggling organization based in Windsor, Ont., according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In 2013, Sychanta's continued alleged illicit activity led to a second indictment in Michigan for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
According to ICE, he is the suspected head of a drug-smuggling ring that supplied millions of ecstasy pills and hundreds of pounds of marijuana to distributors in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Georgia and New York.
He has also allegedly directed individuals to smuggle millions in bulk cash, guns, cocaine and heroin from the United States into Canada.
'History of violence'
Before being tracked down in Montreal, ICE suspected he could be "hiding in the United States, Canada, Mexico, or Asia."
"He has a history of violence and has allegedly made threats against HSI Special Agents and other law enforcement officials," ICE states on its website, adding that he should be considered "armed and dangerous."
Sychanta appeared in a Montreal court last Thursday, where he was charged with possession, obstructing the work of a peace officer and using a forged document.
He has now been transferred to Ontario Provincial Police and may face extradition to the U.S.
With files from Brennan Neill