A trucker charged with attempting to smuggle $20 million worth of marijuana from Canada into the United States told investigators he didn’t know about the nearly 9,500 pounds of drugs hidden in storage containers in his trailer, according to a court document.
Prabjot Nagra, a truck driver for Highway Secure Transport in Ontario, was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected his tractor-trailer after it crossed the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, New York, on June 25.
“My driver and my company had no involvement in this,” a man who identified himself as the owner of Secure Highway Transport told FreightWaves. “He’s an innocent man.”
Nagra, 26, was ordered to remain in U.S. custody Wednesday as he faces charges stemming from the record seizure of marijuana at the U.S.-Canada border.
Investigator: Trackers found with marijuana
CBP officers found the marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags hidden in wooden crates, according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on Friday by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations. Investigators found three trackers with the marijuana shipment, according to the complaint.
Nagra told investigators he didn’t know about the marijuana or its intended destination, according to the complaint. However, the special agent contended that a “criminal organization involved in the smuggling of controlled substances would not risk a $20 million drug load” with a driver who didn’t know about the illicit load.
Nagra’s lawyer, a U.S. federal public defender, did not respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.
Marijuana seizures have surged at the Canada-U.S. border since it closed for non-essential travel in March because of COVID-19.