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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Canadian Couple Arrested While Attempting To Export Suspected Synthetic Drugs Shipped From China To United States

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Karl and Sorina Morrison, both 59, of Kitchener, Ontario, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to import and export controlled substances and analogues and attempt to export controlled substances and analogues. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who is handling the case, stated that, according to the criminal complaint, on August 29, 2016, American law enforcement officers intercepted a package that was mailed from China and addressed to Karl Morrison at a UPS store in Niagara Falls, NY. Inside the package were four sample-sized packets of powder, two of which were tested and determined to contain 4-Methoxy Butyryl Fentanyl and Para-Fluoro Butyryl Fentanyl. If intended for human consumption, these synthetic substances are analogues of the Schedule II controlled substance fentanyl.

On October 15, 2016, Morrison and his wife Sorina entered the United States from Canada at the Lewiston Queenston Port of Entry. The couple retrieved four packages from a UPS store, bought shipping supplies, and repackaged the contents of the original packages into new envelopes that they paid to ship back to Canada, including one to their home address.  Law enforcement officers recovered these packages. Two contained more sample-sized packets of powder, including one apparently labeled as furanyl fentanyl. The third was a two-pound package containing a bulk quantity of powder that Sorina Morrison falsely declared as cinnamon butter.

The couple discarded the Chinese shipping labels of the original packages in various garbage cans around Niagara County. They also obtained from a telephone book the name and address of an unsuspecting citizen in Niagara Falls to use as the return address on the packages they shipped to Canada. Karl and Sorina Morrison were arrested as they drove back across the Lewiston Bridge toward Canada.

The defendants made an initial appearance before the U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. and are being detained pending a hearing scheduled for October 24, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Acting Director of Field Operations Rose Hilmey, the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James J. hunt, New York Field Division, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Boston Division Inspector in Charge Shelly A. Binkowski.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated October 20, 2016