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Ontario nurse stopped with 150 pounds of pot at U.S.-Canada border

An Ontario nurse was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border with 150 pounds of marijuana in her car.
An Ontario nurse was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border with 150 pounds of marijuana in her car. File/Getty Images

An Ontario woman was stopped at the border with 150 pounds of marijuana while en route to a Detroit hospital to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

A 48-year-old registered nurse from Amherstburg reportedly told customs authorities she was headed to Henry Ford Hospital. Now, she’s facing charges of attempted drug smuggling.

Per the criminal complaint, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice in Michigan, she applied for admission into the U.S. and presented her Canadian passport and work permit under the Trade NAFTA agreement.

READ MORE: Missouri sues China for ‘deceit’ over coronavirus threat

Border patrol officers, according to the release, had the nurse open her trunk. They noticed it was full and smelled of marijuana.

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Upon inspection, they found 143 vacuum-sealed bags of suspected pot, weighing in at 153.69 pounds.

The nurse, per The Detroit News, is scheduled for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor on Thursday.

A drug offence of this gravity carries a 20-year prison penalty.

“At a time when health care professionals are working overtime to keep us safe, it’s really shameful that anyone would exploit their status as a nurse to smuggle any kind of drug into our country,” United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said in the statement.

“To stop the spread of the coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel — and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.”

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READ MORE: Tourists found self-isolating in cave after running out of hotel money in India

Terri Leanne Maxwell has been charged with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute and importing more than 100 pounds of marijuana into the United States.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate. Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities. To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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—With files from Global News reporter Josh K. Elliott

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca