Cocaine, cash, and kidnapping: a chilling look into Moira couple’s kidnapping

Cocaine, cash, and kidnapping: a chilling look into Moira couple’s kidnapping

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Franklin County couple kidnapped earlier this week was driven onto the Akwesasne Mohawk territory and smuggled across the St. Lawrence River by boat.

Department of Justice and FBI officials released that information Friday as they announced the arrest of a Plattsburgh man in connection with the kidnapping.

Officials said 50-year-old Graigory Brown was charged Thursday with conspiring to kidnap 76-year-old James Helm Sr. and 70-year-old Sandra Helm.

According to the complaint, Brown and his co-conspirators kidnapped the Helms on Sunday after forcibly entering their Moira home.

The complaint says the kidnappers were armed with guns.

The kidnappers put hoods or pillowcases over their victims' heads, drove them onto the Akwesasne Mohawk territory.

The victims were driven to Snye, Quebec, where they were put in a boat, taken to mainland Canada, and then transported to Quebec’s eastern townships.

Snye is on Akwesasne and, though technically in Canada, is separated from the rest of the country by the St. Lawrence River.

The complaint says Brown’s co-conspirators communicated ransom demands to one of the victims' children.

The kidnappers wanted to trade someone for the Helms. If they couldn’t have that person, they’d $3.5 million or 50 kilos of cocaine - that’s just over 110 pounds.

Police used cell phone signals to track down their location.

Officers from the Surete du Quebec rescued the victims from a house in Magog, Quebec, on Tuesday.

Four of Brown’s alleged co-conspirators have been charged in Canada with crimes related to the kidnapping.

Brown appeared in federal court Friday and was ordered to be held in detention. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

This case under investigation by the FBI, New York State Police, Suerte du Quebec, Akwesasne Mohawk Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office.

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