MONTREAL- A Quebec police officer told a trial today that a couple from Upstate New York were kidnapped and smuggled into Quebec in 2020 because of a drug deal involving their grandson.
Investigator Guillaume Poirier is on the stand in the trial of Gary Arnold, a Quebec man facing seven charges in an alleged conspiracy to abduct James and Sandra Helm.
The couple in their 70s were taken from their home in Moira, N.Y., on Sept. 27, 2020, and discovered by police two days later in Magog, Que., about 125 kilometres southeast of Montreal.
Poirier says that six days before their abduction, the couple’s grandson, Mackenzie Helm, was arrested in the United States by the Drug Enforcement Administration with 50 kilograms of cocaine on him.
He says the couple’s son Michael discovered that his parents were missing and was contacted by people using Quebec-based phone numbers seeking a ransom in exchange for their release.
Poirier says police used cellphone records to track the source of the ransom calls and to retrace the route used to smuggle the couple into Quebec.
James and Sandra Helm were transported by boat into Quebec through the First Nations territory of Akwesasne before they were taken to a chalet in Magog, where they were freed after two days by a provincial police tactical unit.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2023.