Lost American arrested at Canadian border with 181 kg of cannabis and over half a million in cash

| Staff

A lost American was arrested after trying to enter Canada with 181 kg of cannabis and $602,985 US.

According to the RCMP, he was following GPS coordinates that were entered improperly, leading him to the Rainbow Bridge border crossing in Niagara Falls, Canada.

On May 2, 2023, the RCMP say the driver, Andrew Lee Toppenberg, 60 years old, of Tustin, California, took a wrong turn and ended up in the border line up at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Rainbow Bridge port of entry in Niagara Falls, Ontario. 

Because the driver had no passport, he was referred for a secondary examination. During that inspection, the CBSA officers discovered 181 kg of cannabis and USD$602,985 (CAD$816,167). The CBSA officers arrested the driver and seized the cash and cannabis. The case was then turned over to the RCMP Niagara on the Lake Federal Policing Border Integrity Team (RCMP BI).

The cannabis and cash were located in various places in the car. The cannabis was vacuum packed and separated into numerous boxes, while cash was also found separated into bundles and concealed in a safe, a suitcase, and a pelican case (hard-shelled lockable case).

The driver has been charged and is currently waiting on a bail hearing.

Toppenberg appeared before a Justice on May 5, 2023, at the Robert S.K Welch Court in St. Catharines, Ontario and was remanded in custody, where he remains. His next court date has not been scheduled.