SEATTLE - A Canadian man who attempted to smuggle more than 1,700 pounds of marijuana into the United States in a concealed compartment in a loaded cattle trailer was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Edwin R. Fuller, 40, of Cloverdale, British Columbia, was driving a 2003 Peterbilt tractor and towing a cattle trailer with two dozen head of cattle when he attempted to enter the United States at the Sumas, Wash., port of entry in February 2009.
Inspectors with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) noticed a irregularity in the floor of the cattle trailer. They directed Fuller to return to Canada and unload the cattle in holding area so the trailer could be inspected.
The inspection revealed that 1,746 pounds of marijuana was concealed under the floor of the trailer. Fuller was immediately arrested and earlier this year he pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
"Obviously, disrupting the flow of drugs coming across our nation's border is a critical component to keeping those drugs out of our communities and off our streets," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in Seattle. "ICE will continue to target those who seek to profit from this illegal activity."
The marijuana confiscated in the bust is valued at $5 million. The government has moved to seize Fuller's Peterbilt tractor.
During the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor asked for a significant sentence, noting that this was not the first time Fuller had smuggled dope across the border. He also noted that by Fuller's own admission, he had made numerous other trips into the United States with significant amounts of marijuana and was paid large amounts of cash to move the drugs.
ICE was assisted in this investigation by CBP and the Drug Enforcement Administration.