BUFFALO, N.Y. — For the third time in as many weeks, Customs and Border Protection officers have seized a huge quantity of illegal drugs on its way into the US.
The latest seizure happened just before midnight on Thursday. The US Attorney's Office says a commercial truck with Ontario plates whose manifest says it was carrying 55 storage containers, was first referred to the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System for a non-intrusive x-ray exam. That x-ray showed inconsistencies in the trailer and, as a result, the truck was sent to the Peace Bridge loading dock to be further checked out.
During the search CBP officers found nearly 8,500 vacuumed sealed packages of suspected marijuana weighing over 9,000 pounds with a value of over $20 million. It's the largest marijuana seizure ever in the Western District, and believed to be one of the largest ever at the Northern border.
The driver of the truck, Prabjot Nagra, 26, a citizen of India, was arrested and charged with possessing with intent to distribute 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana and importation of marijuana into the US. If convicted, the charges carry a mandatory sentence of ten years in prison with a maximum of life.
“This was an excellent job by our officers from start to finish,” said Port Director Jennifer De La O. “From recognizing a shipment that needed further screening, to the identification of the anomaly during the secondary scan, to the coordination with our partners at Homeland Security Investigations, our officers are committed to intercepting these illicit drugs from being smuggled in.”
Nagra was arraigned before a US Magistrate and is being held pending a detention hearing later this week.