'It’s really shameful': Amherstburg nurse charged with smuggling marijuana into Detroit
The Ambassador Bridge is shown in this file photo in Windsor, Ont., on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. (Melanie Borrelli / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- An Amherstburg nurse has been charged with smuggling over 150 pounds of marijuana into Detroit, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Terri Leanne Maxwell, 48, was chargd in a criminal complaint with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute, and importing more than 150 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Canada, announced U.S. Customs and U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider on Thursday.
Maxwell will be making her initial appearance in federal court in Ann Arbor on Thursday afternoon.
“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,” said Schneider. “To stop the spread of the Coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.”
According to the criminal complaint, on Wednesday at the Ambassador Bridge, Maxwell applied for admission into the United States and presented her Canadian passport and work permit, showing she had valid status to work as a registered nurse.
“Even during this pandemic, CBP remains vigilant in our mission to stop transnational criminal organizations who are attempting to exploit processes and essential personnel crossing the border," said CBP director of field operations Christopher Perry.
"This case exemplifies the professionalism, partnership and commitment we share with the U.S. Attorney’s office to protect the American people and our communities in which we live and serve."
Officials say Maxwell also had a placard issued by Canada Border Services Agency showing she is a first responder, as a healthcare worker. The placards were implemented to give inspecting officers awareness of the travelers’ essential reason for crossing the border.
CBP officers say they had Maxwell open her trunk for an enforcement exam and noticed that the trunk was full and that there was an odor of marijuana emanating from the trunk.
Upon further inspection, officers say they found 143 vacuum sealed bags of suspected marijuana with a total weight of approximately 153.69 pounds.
If convicted, Maxwell could face up to 20 years in federal prison.