An Amherstburg, Ont. nurse has been charged after allegedly attempting to smuggle almost 70 kilograms of cannabis into the U.S. from Canada across the Windsor-Detroit border.
Terri Leanna Maxwell, 48, was charged with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute and importing 69.7 kilograms of cannabis, and is set to make her initial appearance in U.S. federal court in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Thursday afternoon.
Maxwell — who had a placard issued by the Canada Border Services Agency indicating she’s a health-care worker — was arrested on April 22, after attempting to cross the border at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.
According to a Department of Justice media release Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers asked Maxwell to open her trunk for inspection, and noticed “there was an odour of marijuana emanating from the trunk.”
<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ARRESTED?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ARRESTED</a> On Wednesday, <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBP</a> officers at the Ambassador Bridge arrested a Canadian nurse attempting to smuggle 153lbs of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/marijuana?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#marijuana</a> in her car. Transnational criminal organizations do not take a day off during this pandemic and neither does CBP! More here: <a href=”https://t.co/1xku9rtg1T”>https://t.co/1xku9rtg1T</a> <a href=”https://t.co/89cYMGz5UZ”>pic.twitter.com/89cYMGz5UZ</a>
After further inspection, officers found 143 vacuum-sealed bags of suspected cannabis weighing almost 70 kilograms.
“At a time when health-care professionals are working overtime to keep us safe, it’s really shameful that anyone would exploit their status as a nurse to smuggle any kind of drug into our country,” stated U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, in the same Thursday media release.
“To stop the spread of the coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel — and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.”
The employee has been placed on administrative leave …– Brenda Craig, Spokesperson, Henry Ford Health System
According to LinkedIn, Maxwell works as the registered nurse leader with the Infectious Disease Division at the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS).
In an email, HFHS spokesperson Brenda Craig said the organization is “extremely disappointed to learn about these allegations.”
“The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this criminal investigation,” wrote Craig.
As per Canadian cannabis regulations, people in Ontario can carry a maximum of 30 grams of dried cannabis in public.
In Michigan, which began selling recreational cannabis on Dec. 1, 2019, people can carry a maximum of 2.5 ounces, or roughly 71 grams, in public.
If convicted, Maxwell could face up to 20 years in U.S. federal prison.
Blue Water Bridge officers apprehend 771 kilograms of cannabis
CBP officers on Wednesday also discovered approximately 771 kilograms of cannabis in a garbage truck attempting to enter the U.S. from Canada through the Blue Water Bridge near Sarnia, Ont.
According to a Thursday afternoon tweet published by CBP director of field operations Christopher Perry, two additional suspects have been arrested in connection to the garbage truck.