By JESSICA M. PASKO
The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. — Former mountain biking world champion Melissa “Missy” Giove was ordered held on $250,000 bail Thursday after federal authorities said they seized more than 200 pounds of marijuana from a truck she was driving in upstate New York.
Giove, 37, and Eric Canori, 30, of Wilton were charged Tuesday with conspiring to possess and distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.
Nearly 400 pounds of pot were seized from the truck and from Canori’s home outside Saratoga Springs, 25 miles north of Albany, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Canori was ordered held on $500,000 bail at the detention hearing Thursday. Giove and Canori were also ordered to surrender their passports, attend all court appearances and notify authorities of any changes in phone number or address should they post bail. Judge David Homer also imposed travel restrictions on both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Belliss had asked for no bail, saying Giove and Canori are flight risks, but Homer cited the pair’s lack of criminal history and family and business ties to their communities.
Authorities learned of Giove and Canori’s plans last weekend when Illinois State Police pulled over a woman driving a truck and trailer loaded with about 220 pounds of marijuana, DEA spokeswoman Erin Mulvey said. Authorities completed the delivery to the Albany area, where Mulvey said Giove picked up the vehicle and trailer.
Giove is accused of then driving north and following Canori to his home, where some of the trailer’s contents were unloaded.
Giove was later arrested at nearby Saratoga Lake, authorities said. A search of Canori’s home turned up more than 150 pounds of pot and more than $1 million in cash stashed in a closet and the basement, the DEA said.
In court Thursday, public defender Tim Austin said the drugs and money were planted in Giove’s truck, possibly by police.
Giove, nicknamed “The Missile,” was the downhill world champion in 1994 and won World Cup season titles in ’97 and ’98, then captured national titles from 1999-2001. One of the sport’s first mainstream female stars, she retired from downhill racing in 2003.