US Customs and Border officials say they seized 2,796 pounds of cannabis (1268 kg) hidden inside a shipment of straw at the Pembina crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota on April 23.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations officers at the Pembina crossing, along with Homeland Security Investigations and Pembina County Sheriff’s Department took part in the seizure. They estimate the cannabis was worth $4.5 million, or about $2 a gram.
The Pembina crossing is about an hour and a half south of Winnipeg.
Large shipments of cannabis disguised in commercial shipments have increased significantly since the US and Canada closed their border to nonessential traffic in March 2020. Authorities seized more than 70,000 kg of cannabis at the US Canada border in 2020. Several thousand pounds have already been seized in 2021.
In late March of this year, 61 kilograms of THC extract was seized at US border crossing south of Winnipeg, and 1,300 pounds of cannabis was seized at a border crossing between Quebec and Vermont. Another several hundred kilograms were seized on March 26 at a border crossing between New York and Ontario. On March 10, officers at the same crossing seized 300kg of cannabis hidden in a commercial shipment of plastic bottles.
In February, $2 million worth of cannabis was seized at the Port of Buffalo, at the Lewiston Bridge, about 30 minutes north of the Peace Bridge in a commercial shipment that was manifested as cardboard. In January another 900 lbs were seized at the Lewiston Cargo Facility in Lewiston, New York, north of Niagara Falls.
The US and Canada recently extended their mutual border closure to all non-essential traffic to at least May 21.