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Nearly 170 kilos of cocaine headed for Quebec seized: U.S. border agency

Trucks go through the U.S. border post at the crossing facility at Derby Line, Vt., in a May 8, 2019, file photo.
Trucks go through the U.S. border post at the crossing facility at Derby Line, Vt., in a May 8, 2019, file photo. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Federal agents seized almost 370 pounds (166.6 kilos) of cocaine that was hidden in a truck preparing to enter Quebec at Vermont’s Derby Line border crossing, court documents say.

The cocaine, packed in 142 brick-shaped packages, was found by agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the early morning hours of Dec. 7 with the help of a drug-sniffing dog in a hidden compartment, said an affidavit filed in the case.

The compartment had been discovered empty by agents when entering the United States from Canada two days earlier at the Alexandria Bay, New York, port of entry, the court document said.

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The driver of the Quebec-registered truck and trailer, Jason Nelson, was charged in federal court in Plattsburgh, New York, with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. His age and nationality were not listed in court documents.

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Nelson is being held pending a hearing next week. His lawyer did not immediately return a call and email Saturday seeking comment.

The truck was first searched in Alexandria Bay when a drug inspection dog detected residual odours of narcotics. Officers then discovered an empty, custom-made compartment in the front of the truck, the document said.

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Nelson told officers he was headed to Tremont, Pennsylvania. The truck was carrying furniture.

Just before 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 Nelson and his truck arrived at the Derby Line Port of Entry as it was preparing to enter Canada. Nelson told agents the truck was empty.

In Vermont another drug-sniffing dog indicated the presence of narcotics. A further search by border agents discovered the bricks. A random sampling of the packages field tested positive for cocaine, the documents said.