Olympic Medalist Nathan Baggaley Jailed For Drug Production

By McCarton Ackerman 12/22/15

The 40-year-old kayaker's lengthy criminal history and drug-ring involvement worked against him during court proceedings. 

Olympic medal

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Nathan Baggaley will be behind bars for the 2016 Rio games after being jailed for at least 27 months for his involvement in a drug manufacturing syndicate. 

Baggaley, 40, was given the same sentence as his 33-year-old brother, Dru. Nathan was arrested and refused bail in November 2013 after authorities busted him for producing 18,000 tablets of a psychedelic drug known as 2CB and also beginning the development stages of producing methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty last February to drug manufacturing and conspiracy charges. Dru, who has been in jail since 2009 on charges stemming from a separate drug-ring syndicate with Nathan, pleaded guilty to drug manufacturing and conspiracy charges. Nathan will be eligible for release in November due to time already served and Dru will be eligible in July.

Nathan’s attorney, Greg James argued for a lesser sentence by claiming that his involvement was “an act of desperation” to help Dru raise money for a still-undisclosed reason. He also said Nathan and Dru were unaware that 2CB was illegal because it was still classified as a prohibited substance in 2013. Although Judge Leonie Flannery accepted the latter, she said their involvement in the drug ring and lengthy criminal history meant that “no penalty other than imprisonment was appropriate.”

Since being forced to retire from the sport of kayaking after testing positive for steroids in 2005, Nathan’s life has continued to spiral downward. He was convicted on several drug charges in 2007 after police found 800 ecstasy tablets and marijuana in his car. Two years later, he and Dru were arrested for their involvement in a drug ring, with Nathan pleading guilty to manufacturing 1,509 tablets of MDMA. He was sentenced to nine years in jail in March 2009, but was released on appeal in November 2011.

He has even struggled to keep out of controversial incidents while behind bars. He was charged in 2010 with possession of steroids and subsequently moved to a more restrictive team. In his latest sentencing, James told the court that Baggaley had recently been hospitalized after another inmate knocked him unconscious during an altercation.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.