An Indian national has been arrested for smuggling about 3,346 pounds of marijuana worth approximately $5 million into the US from Canada, a US attorney said on Tuesday.
Arrested on charges of importing and possessing with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, Gurpreet Singh, 30, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of a life sentence on being convicted.
Singh was arrested driving a commercial truck on the Peace Bridge from Canada to the US at Niagara Falls in the upstate New York.
A commercial truck carrying 22 skids of peat moss and bearing Ontario, Canada license plates attempted to enter the United States at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry.
During primary inspection, Singh told a CBP Officer that he was transporting the peat moss to Orange, Virginia, the federal complaint said.
During the secondary examination, officers observed five pallets of peat moss packaged in large white plastic positioned at the rear of the trailer.
Behind the pallets were 58 large cardboard boxes in the middle of the trailer. Behind the boxes were 14 additional pallets of peat moss.
“Inspection of the cardboard boxes revealed thousands of vacuum-sealed bags containing suspected marijuana. The total weight of the suspected marijuana was approximately 3,346.35 pounds, with an approximate value of $5,000,000,” the official statement said.
In less than a week, this was the second arrest of an Indian truck driver trying to smuggle marijuana into the US.
“Despite the current travel restrictions at our international crossings, the criminal element has not curtailed their efforts to profit from illicit drug trafficking,” said US Attorney James P Kennedy.
Singh made an initial appearance before US Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J McCarthy and is being detained pending a detention hearing on June Wednesday.