A Canadian cross-border trucker has been charged with bulk-cash smuggling after authorities say he attempted to smuggle 10 bags of cash over the Lewiston Bridge into Canada.
The driver, Mhamood Fadl Salih Khairi of Ontario, Canada, was charged Thursday by federal officials in the Western District of New York. The smuggling charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Khairi, 28, was arrested Wednesday at the Lewiston Bridge Port of Entry north of Buffalo, New York. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Khairi told a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer he was hauling a load of copper wire and returning to Mississauga, Ontario, from the Boston area. Khairi had indicated on a customs declaration form that he was not carrying over $10,000. When asked, he allegedly told CBP he was traveling with $300.
While subsequently checking the tractor trailer for possible drugs, a CBP K-9 narcotics dog alerted officials to the presence of narcotics near the rear of the driver’s cab.
During a manual inspection of the cab and trailer at a secondary inspection station, CBP officers discovered a large white and green gift bag that contained 10 vacuum-sealed bundles of cash totaling $207,500 in U.S. currency.
The driver is being detained after making an initial appearance before a magistrate judge.
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