Laurier, Wash. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laurier, Wash., port of entry seized 300 pounds of high-grade marijuana concealed within a commercial load of woodchips on July 2 and arrested Matthew Tutt, 31, of North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Tutt, a commercial truck driver, arrived at the port Friday afternoon importing a load of woodchips destined for the Avista Utilities generation station in Kettle Falls, Wash., when he was selected for an intensive inspection by CBP officers of the Blaine Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team.
The tractor-trailer combination was escorted to the utilities station and its cargo offloaded under CBP supervision when wooden crates were observed sliding out of the rear of the trailer into the station's hopper. A total of five crates were retrieved and a CBP narcotic detector dog named Diesel gave a positive alert to the presence of a narcotic odor.
Concealed within the crates were 255 plastic bags containing 300 pounds of marijuana suspected to be "BC Bud," a highly potent form of marijuana cultivated in British Columbia, Canada, and can sell for $3,500 to $6,000 a pound in the U.S.
"This interdiction prevents a considerable amount of illicit drugs from reaching our youth," said Acting Area Port Director Deborah Engels. "It also demonstrates CBP's ability to tactically respond to the changing narcotic threat along our nation's borders and highlights our vigilance in protecting the homeland."
Tutt was taken into custody on site by CBP officers and turned over to agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations for his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Spokane. HSI is conducting the criminal investigation.
The Blaine Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team is a mobile enforcement team of dedicated CBP officers and narcotic detection dogs from the area port of Blaine, Wash., and is deployed along the U.S.-Canadian border throughout Washington.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.