U.S. drops drug charges against trucker

by Abdul Latheef

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A truck driver who was arrested in a US$20 million marijuana bust at the Peace Bridge Cargo Facility in Buffalo, N.Y., last month has been freed and returned to Canada, U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western New York said Monday.

Prabjot Nagra, 26, was arrested June 25 after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted 4,300 kilograms of marijuana hidden in storage containers in his trailer as it entered the U.S. from Canada.

Nagra had been charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana in the U.S. He could have faced at least 10 years in jail on conviction.

U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western New York in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo: U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The charges were dismissed without prejudice in order to allow the government additional time to conduct a full forensic examination of certain electronic evidence recovered during the seizure, and to permit additional steps to be taken in this ongoing transnational investigation,” U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. said in a statement emailed to Today’s Trucking.

“It is expected that such further investigative efforts will shed additional light not only on Mr. Nagra’s knowledge regarding the contents of the sealed trailer he was hauling but also on the source and destination of the tons of marijuana it contained.”

Nagra, who is a citizen of India with permanent residency status in Canada, had maintained that he was not aware of the hidden cannabis.

CBP Buffalo
The Peace Bridge Cargo Facility in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo: CBP

There was no immediate comment from the CBP, which had called the interception the largest narcotics seizure recorded on the northern border in the past 5 years.

The use and possession of cannabis is legal in Canada and in some U.S. states, but it is a federal crime to transport the drug between states.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a zero-tolerance policy on marijuana use, whether it is legal or not.

  • This story has been updated with comments from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, background and byline.

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  • This is not the drivers fault whatsoever. The drugs was found in the trailer not the truck itself. If it was found in the truck then it would’ve been the drivers fault. This is the company’s fault

  • I’m a long time Canadian Trucker of 32 years. Put out my first resume fresh out of trucking school in 1988. In the first week I received a call from a company in Ont saying they had immediate work for me hauling prefab spray booths to USA.I went and met with them, they looked shady,I knew something wasn’t in order.I declined the work.About a week later a truck driver was checked entering the USA via boarder crossing.Charged with possession of Cocaine for the purpose of trafficking . Point is,the 26 year old driver may not have known he was hauling drugs.

    • It was sealed, any driver knows you can’t brake the seal, he has to trust what the BOL said the load was.

    • How can you check a load that they sealed and it was hidden so you go on the back of the trailer and go thru especially since Corvid you’re not even allowed in the warehouse you full of it

    • There is slso something called shipper load and count for those situations where a driver is not allowed on the dock.
      Its pretty easy to throw blame in one direction or another without educating yourself and thats very dangerous.
      In my experience (20 yrs) if the US Government dropped the charges this quick, the chances of the driver having any knowledge of the drugs is certainly zero because they will certainly push to lay the blame with him.

  • Those pilots flying for FedEx or Ups,will they be arrested and charged if drugs are found in the parcels?Definitely not,they don’t know what’s in the packages.So,why should a truck driver be treated differently.

  • That’s correct. Normally, if you pick up a sealed container, you’ll have no knowledge of its contents and I’m surprised they were allowed to break the seal, without anyone intervening. They’re normally followed, without being seen.

    • The Law States, any Officer of the law can brake a seal, but must re- seal the truck with a offical police seal and provide the driver with written documentation stating that’s what occurred.

  • The United States is so screwed up. I’m actually ashamed to be a citizen of this country… Why in the hell we don’t have universal health Care like every other civilized country is a joke.

  • Prosecute him it’s called driver and shipper responsibility to know what’s inside your wagon. Something smells pretty funny! Hmmm. Oh NY legalized pot. Probably gonna be for sale in one of the legal NY sponsored drug retailers