Another Canadian driver was caught attempting to smuggle narcotics into the United States this weekend, according to US Customs and Border Protection officials
The trucker, identified as 30-year old Gurpreet Singh. a citizen of India was hauling a load consisting of 22 pallets of peat moss, when he attempted to cross into the United States via the International Peace Bridge in Buffalo. The trucker was selected for inspection, and during this inspection, CPB officers located 19 pallets of peat moss, with 58 large cardboard boxes stuffed in the middle of the load. The 58 cardboard boxes contained thousands of vacuum sealed bags of marijuana.
The estimated value of the 3,346 pounds of marijuana, a staggering $5 million, making it the largest drug seizure in the history of the Buffalo port area, according to Rose Brophy, CBP’s Director of Field Operations.
Singh, a Canadian resident and Indian national was charged with unlawfully importing and possessing with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, according to officials. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury formally indicted Singh on the above charge and add a charge for smuggling merchandise into the U.S.
Although passenger volume has decreased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the border restrictions on non-essential traffic, commercial traffic is still coming through, explained Brophy. The decrease in this passenger traffic might be playing a part in allowing CPB officials to spend more time focusing on commercial traffic. It appears to be paying off with CPB seeing a 4000% spike in the volume of illicit drugs being siezed.
“While Current border restrictions have played a part in the decrease in the actual incidents, as you can see, it has not deterred criminal organizations from trying to make a profit,” said Brophy during a press conference Tuesday.
Since March 21st, border agents have made a total of 286 drug seizures totaling more than a whopping 8,700 lbs. During the same period last year officials had nearly double the number of seizures, 549 to be exact, with only 216 lbs of narcotics recovered.
Just last week, CPB officers caught yet another Canadian resident hauling over 1,700 lbs. of marijuana at this very same border crossing. That driver, also an Indian citizen was hauling a load of coffee makers, and nearly a ton of marijuana hidden in his truck.