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Press Release

Commercial truck driver admits trafficking charge after trying to haul approximately 30 kilos of cocaine across Montana border into Canada

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

GREAT FALLS — A commercial truck driver from Canada today admitted to a cocaine trafficking crime after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine in watermelon pallets as the driver was attempting to enter Canada at the Montana border, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Kareshmaa Kaur Jagroop, 42, of Ontario, Canada, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine as charged in a superseding information. Jagroop faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The court set sentencing for May 23. Jagroop was released on conditions to a treatment center in Montana pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that in July 2021, a commercial truck was northbound on Interstate 15 near the Sweetgrass Port of Entry in Toole County. As it approached the border in the outbound lane, Customs and Border Protection officers signaled the truck to stop, but the driver ignored the signal and continued past the outbound booth. Officers chased down the truck, which eventually stopped, and had the driver, Jagroop, reverse the truck back to the outbound booth for inspection. As part of the inspection, Jagroop drove through a screening machine, which showed potential anomalies in the trailer. Officers conducted a manual search and unloaded the contents with a forklift. Officers removed two pallets of watermelons and saw a plastic bag that contained approximately 30 kilograms, which is about 66 pounds, of cocaine. During an interview, Jagroop told officers she entered the United States about one week prior to the stop and delivered produce to supermarkets in Oregon and California. She eventually admitted that she was hauling cocaine for a group in Canada.

(Photos: U.S. Attorney’s Office)

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey K. Starnes is prosecuting the case. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.

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Contact

Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer

406-247-4623

Clair.Howard@usdoj.gov

Updated January 16, 2024

Topic
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 24-16