A truckload of beef cattle from British Columbia has been detained in Washington state after US$6 million in marijuana was allegedly found in the floor panels of their trailer.
Their truck driver, Edwin Fuller of Langley, B.C., was arrested Tuesday at the Sumas, Wash. border crossing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a release.
The truckload of cattle was reportedly bound for Stanwood, about 70 km north of Seattle, when Fuller, a 39-year-old commercial truck driver, was “selected for an intensive inspection,” CBP said.
“The cattle were offloaded and the trailer was examined using a gamma x-ray imaging device which discovered inconsistencies in the lower and upper decks of the trailer,” CBP said in its release.
Entering the trailer, CBP officers found “a space discrepancy in the interior indicating the possibility of a built-up compartment in the floor.”
“Officers scraped off the natural byproduct of cows and endured the associated odours to unbolt false panels which concealed hundreds of plastic bags of marijuana beneath,” the agency said.
The concealed cargo, CBP said, was 1,746 pounds of “B.C. Bud,” a “highly potent” form of marijuana with a U.S. market value of US$3,500 to $6,000 per pound.
“While it is not everyday we discover drugs hidden under cow flop, it does have its own unique sweet smell of success,” CBP area port director Pat Hinchey said in the agency’s release.
CBP said Fuller was taken into custody on site and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, which will conduct a criminal investigation. Fuller was booked to appear at a U.S. District Court in Seattle, CBP said without specifying what charges he may face.
A few evidence boxes were brought out to carry the trailer’s bagged cargo, CBP said, but those boxes were “quickly overwhelmed” by the bags hurled from the trailer.
“Eventually all the marijuana was packaged into 69 large boxes which had to be placed back into the cow trailer for transportation to a secured repository vault,” the agency said.