Former Rochester Americans enforcer Sean McMorrow, who played 220 games and amassed an incredible 1,020 penalty minutes for the Amerks between 2002 and 2006, has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges. The trafficking reportedly took place during his tenure in Rochester. McMorrow also appeared in one NHL for the Sabres on March 22, 2003.
From the Associated Press: “U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced Monday that McMorrow, 29, of Toronto, Canada, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, marijuana before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brett A. Harvey and Douglas E. Gregory, who are handling the case, said McMorrow was involved in importing large quantities of marijuana from Canada into the United States over the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, and distributing the marijuana to others in the Western District of New York from 2003 to April 2005.
McMorrow, as part of the conspiracy, obtained large quantities of marijuana from a supplier in Toronto, and then transported it — concealed in hockey bags inside his sport utility vehicle — over the border, prosecutors said.
As part of the conspiracy, McMorrow also used various individuals, including two women, to act as drug couriers; and organized and supervised the trips by the drug couriers, providing them with money to smuggle into Canada, loading their vehicles with marijuana, driving across the Rainbow Bridge ahead of the couriers in an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities, retrieving the marijuana from the couriers on the United States side of the border, and paying the couriers for their services.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special-Agent-In-Charge Christopher M. Piehota.
Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Larimer for Jan. 11.”
The charges McMorrow is facing carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or both. McMorrow was a former 8th round draft pick of the Sabres in 2000, and was most recently playing for Saguenay Marquis of the LNHA. Federal authorities say he smuggled more than 100 kilograms (approximately 220 pounds) of marijuana through customs from Canada. Court documents also state that authorities seized $20,000 during one attempted border crossing in 2004, when McMorrow was only 22 years old.
This is yet another unfortunate turn in a series of negative events that have been taking place recently with hockey enforcers. I am not sure what would have inclined McMorrow to get involved with the drug game at the time, as the average AHL player salary is around $62,000 – not a bad chunk of change to play a game for a living. I saw a few of his fights, and he could definately throw the fists with some of the best, and without these legal issues that began to take place early on in his career, he likely could have landed an NHL enforcer role. That would have guaranteed him a pay check with six figures. I ran into McMorrow a few times following Amerks games, and he came across as very personable, fun-loving, and in good spirits.