Press-Republican

July 7, 2011

Ex-NHL enforcer surrenders

— Turns self in at border after release from Canadian jail

DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

MALONE — A former National Hockey League player is in Franklin County Jail again, charged with violating probation on a conspiracy conviction from nine years ago.

Patrick Cote, 36, of Blairville, Quebec, who played left wing for the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars, walked up to the U.S. Port of Entry in Champlain and turned himself in to authorities, said Malone Village Police Chief Chris Premo.

"He'd been serving two years in jail in Canada on an assault charge," the chief said. "He had just gotten out of jail over there.

"He was dropped off at the border by a taxi and walked up the bus lane. When an officer approached him, he said there was a warrant for him in New York and that he wanted to get it taken care of."

Premo was the officer who fingerprinted Cote during his original arrest in 2002 and said the man he spoke with on Tuesday "was very decent. His attitude was a lot different than the last time.

"I thought I'd never see him again," Premo said.

2002 ARREST

Cote was wanted on an outstanding warrant issued in 2004 by County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr.

Cote is reportedly in violation of the terms of his probation, stemming from his arrest on May 17, 2002, when he was stopped in the Village of Malone for speeding on Main Street at 3:17 a.m.

Police grew suspicious when Cote gave conflicting accounts of where he was going and where he had been that night.

Officers with the U.S. Border Patrol were called in with a canine unit, which found 30 pounds of marijuana stowed in the car's trunk. Its estimated street value at the time was $125,000.

Cote was originally charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana; speeding, for going 65 in a 30-mph zone; and failure to comply, for trying to elude a Village Police patrol car.

Cote's case was one of the first handled by members of the then-new Franklin County Narcotics Task Force.

He pleaded guilty in August 2002 to a reduced charge of fourth-degree conspiracy and was sentenced by Main on the felony count to six months in County Jail and five years of probation supervision.

'ENFORCER'

Cote was also ordered to forfeit a 2001 Audi Quatro, $1,980 in Canadian money and $21.15 in American cash.

According to the District Attorney's Office, Main issued the warrant in 2004, when Cote reportedly failed to report to his Canadian probation officer a number of times, as required in the terms of his release from American custody.

Cote, known as an enforcer in his professional hockey days, was drafted in 1995 by the Dallas Stars and played in the NHL for six years. He was sent to the Predators in 1998 and traded to Edmonton for a fifth-round draft choice before the 2000-01 hockey season.

He was sent to the American Hockey League in Hamilton in December 2000 and played for the Quebec Hockey League between 2001 and 2008.

Email Denise A. Raymo at: draymo@pressrepublican.com