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400 lbs of Canadian cannabis smuggled into New York State, according to U.S. border patrol

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On Aug. 28, U.S. Border Patrol and Homeland Security says it raided a Alexandria Bay, N.Y., villa after suspicious activity. What they found was 400 lbs, or $1.3 million, of Canadian cannabis in and around the property. – Sep 4, 2019

If you’re looking to kick back and enjoy the cottage life during the summer months, look no further than the 1,000 Islands region of Ontario.

The region welcomes tourists from across the world, and because it shares the St. Lawrence River with New York State, it makes it easy for tourists to go to and from both countries.

Although, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol say the proximity has caused a few challenges, especially since last year’s legalisation of cannabis in Canada.

“In 2018, we obtained 590 lbs of marijuana as opposed to this that year where we’ve seized over 3,000 lbs,” said Beth Bresett, an officer with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol at the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry.

These statements on Canadian cannabis come after border patrol agents from the Wellesley Island Station and Homeland Security seized more than 393 pounds of cannabis from an Alexandria Bay, N.Y., villa on the St. Lawrence River.

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U.S. Customs and Borer Patrol
U.S. Customs and Borer Patrol
U.S. Customs and Borer Patrol

According to border patrol, on August 28 agents and a canine unit responded to suspicious activity at the Harbor Village Villas and found nine duffel bags filled with marijuana on the property with a street value of over $1.3 million CAD.

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The vacation home was being rented by En Li of New York City, according to several neighbours who asked to remain anonymous. Homeland security special agent Kevin Kelly told 7 News in Watertown N.Y., that Li smuggled the marijuana from Canada by boat.

The villa Li was renting, includes a boat garage that is situated on an inlet off of the St. Lawrence River, Kelly said.

Li is charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana. 7 News reported that Li was held in Jefferson County Jail in lieu of $50,000 USD bail or $200,000 USD bond.

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Global News has attempted to contact special agent Kelly several times, but have yet to hear back.

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Although, Kelly told 7 News last week, that the bust is potentially part of a bigger network involving maritime smuggling and that the cannabis is high-grade and hydroponically grown.