U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized more than $8 million of marijuana and over 2,000 bongs from commercial trucks in separate incidents at the U.S.-Canada border, the agency said Friday.
The marijuana seizure occurred Thursday at the Peace Bridge, the site of multiple large drug busts involving trucks at the Canada-U.S. border since June.
Officers reportedly discovered 2,410 pounds of marijuana during an inspection of 20 pallets. The driver was not arrested, while the case remains under investigation, CBP spokesperson Mike Niezgoda told FreightWaves in an email.
The 2,400 bongs, worth over $150,000, were seized during an inspection of a tractor-trailer at the Alexandria Bay border crossing in northern New York on Oct. 4. They had been manifested as “smoking glass ball water pipe,” the CBP said.
U.S. border officers in New York and Michigan have seized millions of dollars in marijuana hidden in truckloads coming from Canada since the border closed for nonessential travel.
The CBP’s Buffalo Field Office, which oversees 17 ports of entry including the Peace Bridge, has reported a dramatic surge in drug seizures in the past year, largely during the border closure.
Truckers held on marijuana smuggling charges
At least two truckers from Canada are in U.S. federal detention on charges stemming from marijuana seizures at the Peace Bridge border crossing.
On Oct. 7, a federal judge denied trucker Gurpreet Singh’s second attempt to be allowed to return to Canada on bail as his case moved forward in the courts. Singh’s family and friends have raised $100,000 as bail.
Singh was arrested in June after CBP officers allegedly found $5 million worth of marijuana in his trailer, less than two weeks after the arrest of another driver from his former carrier, Trans King, at the Peace Bridge, also on pot-smuggling charges.
Singh’s lawyers include Paul Cambria, a prominent Buffalo criminal defense attorney known nationally for celebrity clients including Larry Flynt and DMX.
The largest marijuana seizure at the Peace Bridge, in June, had a value of $20 million. The driver was initially arrested, but charges were ultimately dropped at the request of prosecutors.
Amid the surge of seizures of marijuana coming from Canada, where pot is legal, Canadian authorities continue to handle their share of smuggling from the U.S.
Thirteen people were charged in September in connection with a $300 million smuggling ring that trucked undeclared tobacco from the United States to Canada.