O/O takes U.S. inspector for a ride (June 01, 2002)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Among the charges now faced by a Toronto owner/operator, use of a deadly, dangerous weapon to cause physical injury against a U.S. Customs agent stands out: It refers to his truck.

The trucker was arrested at the Peace Bridge border crossing after he allegedly drove away with the U.S. Customs officer hanging onto the side of his cab.

U.S. officials say Gawain Cole, owner of Tachway Trucking, ignored the agent’s order to pull over for a secondary inspection after an initial check revealed what appeared to be a false compartment in the undercarriage of his trailer.

Instead of following a Customs van to another inspection site as directed, Cole allegedly began driving across the Peace Bridge toward Canada. As the truck began moving, the inspector jumped onto the step at the driver’s side window and ordered the driver to stop. He reportedly was forced to draw his gun after the truck reached a speed sufficient to prevent the agent from jumping to safety.

“According to the inspector, Cole laughed, and shifted the truck into high gear to gain more speed. The inspector shouted the order to stop again or he’d have to shoot the driver in the leg. Cole laughed and continued the high-speed ride toward the Canadian border,” says the U.S. Customs Service in a news release.

A marked Customs vehicle eventually blocked the truck’s path and Cole was arrested thankfully without injury.

A search of the truck revealed two plastic shopping bags and one duffel bag full of U.S. currency totalling $207,270 in the sleeper area of the tractor. The money and truck were seized.

In addition to the weapons offense, Cole faces charges of failure to report currency in excess of $10,000 and assault against a federal officer.

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