(Pixabay.com)

Vermont man charged with smuggling marijuana from Canada

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Vermont man is facing charges of smuggling 272 pounds (123 kilograms) marijuana into the United States from Canada, court documents say.

Jack Cohen, of Stowe, was arrested Wednesday night after he was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in the town of Canaan with four duffel bags containing marijuana in the back of his pickup truck, the documents said.

Cohen had an initial appearance in federal court in Burlington on Thursday and was released. He’s due in court again next month.

Cohen’s attorney did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.

For more than a month Border Patrol agents had been monitoring an area on the Vermont side of Wallace Pond, which straddles the border with Canada not far from where Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec meet, after agents discovered snowmobile tracks across the frozen lake.

Agents believe that two snowmobiles pulling heavily laden cargo sleds had crossed the border on Feb. 11 carrying contraband that was most likely marijuana. The agents set up a trail camera to record activity in the area.

On Feb. 22, the camera recorded a pickup truck in the area, but by the time agents responded the vehicle was gone.

Just before 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday the camera detected movement in the area and a Border Patrol agent on patrol spotted a vehicle leaving the area.

Several minutes later the vehicle, which was allegedly being driven by Cohen, was spotted and stopped. Agents later found the marijuana in the bed of the truck.

Agents believe there are at least three drug trafficking organizations that are working to smuggle marijuana into the United States in Vermont.

Over the last several months there have been several large-scale seizures of marijuana during attempted smuggling efforts in New York and Vermont.

Last June border agents in Buffalo, New York seized 9,500 pounds (4,310 kilograms) of marijuana hidden in a truck, it was the largest marijuana seizure ever on the U.S.-Canadian border. In December, agents found 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms) of marijuana hidden in kitchen cabinets being brought into the United States at Highgate Springs, Vermont.

Last summer, Border Patrol agents apprehended a man who was part of an effort to walk 226 pounds (103 kilograms) of marijuana across the border in North Troy, Vermont. Two accomplices in that case made it back into Canada without being apprehended.

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