The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan says a 41-year-old man on the country's 10 Most Wanted list has been extradited from Canada to the United States to face drug-trafficking charges in Detroit.
Katay-Khaophone Sychanta, who has Canadian and Laos citizenship, was arrested in the Montreal area following an assault on a police officer and a short pursuit in 2017.
Since that 2017 arrest, Sychantha has remained in Canadian custody while he contested his extradition to the U.S. along with two Canadian co-defendants.
He was first indicted in the U.S. in 2005 and again in 2013, then charged in three separate cases in Canada, where he fled house arrest in 2014.
He has been charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, ecstasy, benzylpiperazine and marijuana between 2003 and 2011. He has also been charged with three counts of possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and ecstasy.
Following these American indictments, Sychantha fled while under house arrest in Canada in 2014. He was charged and arrested in Canada on three separate Canadian criminal cases.
By the time Sychanta was arrested by two bike patrol officers in Montreal, he had successfully dodged police for some 10 years and was suspected of being a kingpin in an international drug and money smuggling ring — landing him a spot in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's 10 Most Wanted list.
A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture.
Sychantha made his initial appearance in federal court in Detroit Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti.
"I commend the work of the agents from HSI and Canadian law enforcement for pursuing this long-time fugitive and significant drug trafficker," said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison in a news release.
The attorney's office says the indictment is not evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged, as he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.