US customs seize 1,700kg of cannabis at Canadian border

US Customs officers seized 3,765 pounds (1707.8 kg) of cannabis at the Portal Port of Entry between North Dakota and Saskatchewan last Thursday, May 20.

The cannabis was hidden in a shipment of what was listed as plastic containers. US Homeland Security Investigations and the local Burke County Sheriff’s Department were contacted and responded to assist. 

Authorities say the cannabis has an estimated value of more than $6 million (US), or about $3.50 a gram. Authorities at the same port of entry also seized over $645,000 in Canadian currency.

Large seizures of this nature have become relatively common since the US and Canada closed their shared border to all non-essential traffic in March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

The US and Canada recently extended their border closure by another month, to June 21.

Most recently, 2,796 pounds of cannabis (1268 kg) hidden inside a shipment of straw at the Pembina crossing between Manitoba and North Dakota were seized on April 23. 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.

“Customs and Border Protection has a multi-layer enforcement posture, with excellent work performed by officers to identify, refer and inspect this shipment,” said Portal Port Director James Rector in a press release.  “This interdiction keeps narcotics from entering the United States and reinforces the important border security mission CBP officers have in keeping our country and communities safe. The teamwork involved in this seizure was outstanding.”


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