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Press Release

Nurse Charged with Importation of Marijuana from Canada

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

A registered nurse from Amherstburg, Ontario, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute, and importing more than 100 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Canada, announced United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Terri Leanne Maxwell, age 48, will be making her initial appearance in federal court in Ann Arbor this afternoon.

“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,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.  “To stop the spread of the Coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel — and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.” 

“Even during this pandemic, CBP remains vigilant in our mission to stop transnational criminal organizations who are attempting to exploit processes and essential personnel crossing the border," said CBP Director of Field Operations Christopher Perry. "This case exemplifies the professionalism, partnership and commitment we share with the U.S. Attorney’s office to protect the American people and our communities in which we live and serve." 

According to the criminal complaint, on April 22, 2020, at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge, Maxwell applied for admission into the United States and presented her Canadian passport and work permit under the Trade NAFTA agreement, showing she had valid status to work as a registered nurse.  Maxwell also had a placard issued by Canada Border Services Agency showing she is a first responder, as a healthcare worker.  The placards were implemented to give inspecting officers awareness of the travelers’ essential reason for crossing the border.

CBP officers had Maxwell open her trunk for an enforcement exam and noticed that the trunk was full and that there was an odor of marijuana emanating from the trunk.  Upon further inspection officers found 143 vacuum sealed bags of suspected marijuana with a total weight of approximately 153.69 pounds.

If convicted, Maxwell could face up to 20 years in federal prison.

A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint.  When the investigation is completed a determination will be made whether to seek a felony indictment.

Updated April 23, 2020

Drug Trafficking