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3 Massachusetts women bought marijuana legally in Canada, charged with smuggling it into U.S.

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Posted at 12:08 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 12:26:22-04

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three women from Massachusetts are charged with attempting to smuggle marijuana into the U.S.

According to Customs and Border Protection, the women attempted to enter the U.S. at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge Port of Entry. All three women denied having marijuana and contraband in the vehicle.

Officers say they searched the vehicle and found commercial packaged marijuana and marijuana products in multiple bags. Briha Younger, Jenae Johnson, and Micaela Ratcliffe were arrested at the scene.

After a further investigation, border patrol determined that the marijuana was purchased legally in Canada.

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy issued a statement regarding the case.

“The possession of marijuana and its importation into the United States remain federal crimes,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “The fact that it may have been lawfully purchased in Canada does not change that. To those who may ask what’s the harm here? My response is simple. In the last two weeks right here in Erie County, two different individuals have been charged with manslaughter for having been involved in fatal car crashes while driving under the influence of marijuana. The first victim was a woman who was struck by a drugged driver while walking down a sidewalk. The second victim was a woman who was watching television in her living room when a drugged driver plowed his car into her apartment and killed her. If this office, together with our federal partners, can help to save the lives of innocent potential future victims by curbing the flow of marijuana into our community and/or by letting the public know of the significant legal consequences that flow from being charged with a violation of federal law, then we will not hesitate to act. Such actions are undertaken not only enhance the safety of our community but quite possibly to prevent today’s marijuana possessor or importer from either becoming or supplying tomorrow’s manslaughter defendant. Regardless of the law in Canada—or even New York State—the public must be aware that the manufacture, possession, distribution, or importation of marijuana remain federal crimes.”

All three suspects are charged by criminal complaint with smuggling of goods into the United States, importation of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, Younger, Johnson and Ratcliffe could spend up to 20 years in prison and pay a $250,000 fine.