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Press Release

Three Defendants Charged in Two Separate Cases With Attempting To Smuggle Marijuana Into the United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

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

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Cindy Huang, 23, of Brooklyn, NY, Charles Shu, 25, of Buffalo, NY, and Isaac Danso Ofori, 26, of Columbus, OH, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession and importation of a controlled substance, and smuggling goods into the United States. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Astorga, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on November 4, 2018, defendant Huang and Chu attempted to enter the United States from Canada at the Lewiston Bridge Port of Entry. They were passengers in a vehicle that included five other individuals. During the primary inspection of the vehicle, a Customs and Border Protection officer discovered two edible packages with a red marijuana leaf marking in the trunk area of the vehicle. The vehicle was then referred for a secondary inspection during which a canine dog alerted officers to the glove compartment area. A search of the glove compartment resulted in the discovery of a plastic bag containing marijuana.

In a separate case, also on November 4, 2018, Ofori attempted to enter the United States from Canada at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. Ofori was one of three occupants in a vehicle that was referred to secondary inspection. Prior to the secondary inspection, Ofori stated that he did not have any drugs, weapons, or prohibited items. During the secondary inspection, a Customs and Border Protection officer found a plastic baggie inside of a light brown colored book bag in the rear of the vehicle containing a green leafy substance. The defendant stated that he purchased the green leafy substance at a shop called "Market Dispensary," in Toronto. The green leafy substance tested positive for marijuana.

“Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada on October 17th, we have experienced a significant increase in the number of people apprehended at the border importing marijuana into the United States,” noted U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Let there be no misunderstanding—it was, is, and will continue to be a federal crime to attempt to bring any quantity of marijuana into the United States from Canada. People must realize that the enduring hardship that they will suffer as the result of a federal criminal conviction will far outlast any high they may be seeking to experience through the ingestion of the marijuana they are illegally importing.”

Huang, Chu, and Ofori made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder and were released.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly.

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.  

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Updated November 6, 2018