A Canadian man may rot in jail for up to 40 years after admitting to a botched attempt to smuggle over half a ton of marijuana into the United States, according to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., on Wednesday.

The suspect, Xiao Liu, 27, has been charged with possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. He has since entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo

A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer flagged Liu on Jan. 10, 2021, at the Peace Bridge and found at least 30 hockey bags filled with marijuana in his truck, according to WIVB.

Liu was reportedly driving the truck bearing Ontario license plates and stated that he was hauling a shipment of wax. When asked to open the sleeper cab curtain, the defendant did so partially. The suspect then fully opened the curtain following subsequent orders from the suspecting officer, who spotted black bags crowding the sleeper cab from the floor to the ceiling.

When questioned, Liu claimed that the bags belonged to a friend and he was taking them to Buffalo. He was referred to X-ray inspection for further processing, which subsequently led to the drug haul, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Antoine told the court.

CBP officers offloaded a total of 30 hockey bags from the tractor cab, which included 1,139 vacuum-sealed bags of suspected marijuana, court documents indicated. They moved to arrest Liu the same day.

Liu's case has been probed by the CBP, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy, and the Homeland Security investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

The suspect will be sentenced on Dec. 3, 2021, before Judge Vilardo. His charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison with a maximum penalty of 40 years jail time and a hefty $5,000,000 fine.

Meanwhile, Vice reported that a Mexican drug smuggler is bucking a trend of dressing down to avoid detection of his illegal activities. He would then acquire Primo weed from California before smuggling it south to his native land instead of moving the illicit drugs north into the United States.

“We see it as medicine, we don't see it as a drug,” Jose said. “People are suffering from multiple diseases of many kinds and they don't have this on hand. So the market is not merely a recreational market but also mostly medicinal.”

He said he found a market willing to pay a 10 percent premium for superior products from California’s legal cannabis pharmacies, admitting that some of his clients are simply connoisseurs of high-quality dispensary weed.

Jose began smuggling California-produced marijuana to his country almost a decade ago during the peak of the state's medical marijuana boom, noting he has never been caught nor lost any load of the acquired weed.

The activity would continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with his product clandestinely cruising past Mexican customs posts about twice a month in delivery trucks deemed essential traffic under the U.S. pandemic restrictions.

commercial truck
CBP officers offloaded a total of 30 hockey bags from the tractor cab, which included 1,139 vacuum-sealed bags of suspected marijuana, court documents indicated. They moved to arrest Liu the same day. This is a representational image. PIXABAY

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