Pubdate: Fri, 12 Dec 2008
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Brian Kelly, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


Three Canadian men have pleaded guilty to a federal charge that they
conspired to smuggle $40,000 in cash out of the United States at Morristown.

Barry Buker, Brockville, Ontario, Donald Lauber and Louis Stephenson
pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court, Syracuse, to a charge
that they conspired to transport monetary instruments of more than
$10,000 from a place inside the United States to a place outside the
country without filing a report of international transportation of
currency or monetary instruments.

Federal regulations require that an international transportation of
currency report be filed with the U.S. Treasury Department if a person
intends to take more than $10,000 in cash out of the country.

Mr. Lauber and Mr. Stephenson also pleaded guilty to charges that they
entered the United States illegally, at a place that is not designated
by immigration officials for entrance of immigrants into the country.

The three were charged by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
agents Oct. 20 near Wright's Marina in Morristown with having $38,970
in U.S. currency that they allegedly were planning to take by boat
across the St. Lawrence River to Canada.

An ICE agent came across Mr. Buker walking on dirt road parallel to
the river and questioned him about the contents of his backpack, but
Mr. Buker was unable to say what was in the pack. A search of the
pack, conducted with Mr. Buker's consent, allegedly revealed the cash
inside a box wrapped in tape.

Shortly afterward, a boat carrying Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Lauber came
ashore and became hung up on rocks. Mr. Buker spoke to the two men and
allegedly handed the backpack to them, at which time the trio was
taken into custody, according to court documents.

Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Lauber had come under surveillance by the
Canadian Border Services Agency as the agency watched a vehicle
suspected of being used to smuggle marijuana and currency near
Cornwall, Ontario. Canadian agents tailed the vehicle to a marina near
Johnstown, Ontario, across the river from Morristown, and notified ICE

The three men are scheduled to be sentence April 8. As part of their
guilty plea, they agreed to forfeit the $38,970. They were sent
Tuesday to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
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