Terri Lynn Maxwell, a 48 year old nurse from Amherstburg, Ontario, who works in Michigan, was arrested on April 22nd by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents for trafficking marijuana.
She was apprehended at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge, which connects the city with Windsor, Ontario, on charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
About 150 pounds of cannabis was found in the trunk of her car in 143 vacuum-sealed bags when the agents inspected her vehicle at the border.
She claimed she was on her way to the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where she is working as a nurse for Covid-19 patients.
She was clad in her work clothes when caught as well as had a placard issued by Canada Border Services Agency showing she is a first responder, and therefore, an essential service provider.
As per the Department of Justice media report, the CBP Officers asked Terri Maxwell to disclose the content in her car upon suspicion caused due to the strong odor of Marijuana coming from the trunk.
The USA-Canada border has been shut for over a month in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus and only essential service providers are being permitted to cross over. Maxwell presented her Canadian passport and work permit to the agents at the border.
Maxwell made an appearance in the federal court in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Thursday.
In a Department of Justice media release, United States Attorney Matthew Schneider denounced the act, saying, “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. To stop the spread of the coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel — and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.”
Maxwell, who works as nurse leader with the Infectious Disease Division at the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
“The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this criminal investigation,” said Brenda Craig, an HFHS spokesperson.
The Canadian cannabis regulations state that residents of Ontario are allowed to carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis in public. This nurse was definitely abusing her status to carry much more than the prescribed limit.