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Press Release

Two Men Arrested, Charged With Smuggling 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 Jason Ng, 59, of Woodside, NY, and Can Ren Li, 56, of Norwich, CT, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with smuggling of goods into the United States, importation of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremiah E. Lenihan, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on August 12, 2019, at approximately 11:10 a.m., the defendants attempted to enter the United States from Canada at the Rainbow Bridge Port of Entry in Niagara Falls, NY. Ng and Li were in a vehicle bearing New Jersey temporary license plates. During primary inspection, Ng, who was the driver, declared that he and Li spent one night at the casino and were returning to Buffalo. However, a Customs and Border Protection Officer noticed that both defendants had frequent border crossings at different ports of entry in different plated vehicles. The officer opened the back of the van and observed five spare tires. When asked why he had the tires, Ng stated that he had a tire repair business. Ng declared $1,000.00 U.S. currency and Li declared $125.00 U.S. currency. The defendants were then referred for secondary inspection.

During secondary inspection, the defendants stated that they did not have any alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or any other illicit drugs. However, a K9 dog alerted to the side door of the van, as well as the five tires in the back of the van. An x-ray exam was conducted on the tires which showed compacted material inside the empty space of the tires. A drill was used to probe the tires and multiple plastic bags of suspected marijuana were discovered.

The defendants made an initial appearance this morning before U. S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer. Defendant Li was released on conditions. Defendant Ng was released on $25,000 bond.   

The complaint is the result of an investigation by Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations Rose Brophy, and 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 August 15, 2019