Two Canadians trucking frozen raspberries into the United States in barrels
packed with marijuana are now the ones in a jam.

The pair, Lakvinder "Lucky" Singh Dhillon, 25, and Glen Smith, 47, were
arrested by U.S. Immmigration and Customs Enforcement agents after the
truck they were in was searched early last week.

U.S. agents allege the marijuana was in 83 barrels of fruit.

According to the border agents, 1,900 pounds of pot was found that would
have an estimated value of more than $5 million.

The two men made a brief court appearance on Thursday. If found guilty,
they could face up to 40 years in prison.

The marijuana produced today is not only potent but smells, and the way it
is smuggled across borders is something that never ceases to amaze drug cops.

The frozen-raspberry ruse was something new to veteran U.S. customs officer
Roy Hoffman.

"This is the first case I've seen where smugglers used frozen raspberries
as a cover for drug trafficking, but it demonstrates the lengths to which
people will go in this illicit trade to try [to] elude detection," said
Hoffman.

Other recent pot busts have also tested the imagination of border guards.

In July, Duane Christopher Bradley, a resident of the Lower Mainland, was
sentenced in a Seattle court to 30 months in jail for smuggling marijuana
across the U.S. border concealed in the bottom of a cage that contained two
overweight black bears.

At his trial, Bradley said he had made the trip a number of times, using
cougars and tigers in his job hauling animals for the movie industry.

In Canada, customs spokeswoman Paula Shore said: "There's been a colourful
collection" of ways people are caught smuggling drugs. But, she said,
customs officials don't like to talk about the ways the dope gets smuggled.

"We don't want to give people [who] are smuggling any information," she said.

Some of the illegal drugs are moved through the air and some by water.

Last summer a $130-million Canadian pot ring was busted by U.S authorities.
The smugglers were moving the marijuana by air, two large fishing boats and
a semi-trailer.

In May, a Port Moody man was arrested but not charged when 290 kilograms of
pot was found concealed in cardboard boxes in a truck carrying waste paper.

According to Shore, Canada Customs officers use a high-tech device called
an Ionscan to help stop the flow of illegal drugs into Canada.

With this device, officers can conduct fast, effective inspections of
high-risk travellers and commercial shipments. This, in turn, allows for
faster processing of legitimate travellers and goods.

An Ionscan is an ion mobility spectrometer. The scientific community uses
spectrometers to analyze the chemical compounds of various substances.

The Ionscan is portable and designed for use by customs officers who do not
have technical or scientific backgrounds.

Using this device, customs officers can quickly and accurately detect
microscopic traces of drugs on luggage, packages, documents, vehicles,
clothes, or any other surface.

If someone is using or smuggling drugs, there is a high probability that
trace amounts of the drug will be present on the person or on items that he
or she has been in contact with.


Pubdate: Sun, 21 Sep 2003
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Webpage: http://www.mapinc.org/cancom/828f9e84-b8cb-4858-8cdc-d0759b29930a
Copyright: 2003 The Province
Contact: provletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/theprovince/