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1.5 tons of marijuana smuggled into into USA inside office furniture

Wednesday 27 July 2011

A Detroit man was in a federal court on 27 July on charges he helped sneak nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the USA via a truckload full of furniture. Miquel Ascencion was arrested on Monday following a drug bust that originated on 9 July at the U.S.-Mexican border in Laredo, Texas, where federal agents inspected a semi-truck that was entering the U.S. from Mexico, court records show. The truck was carrying 299 pieces of wooden office furniture, which, records show, turned out to filled with weed.
Red flags went up when an X-ray examination of the semi showed that something was abnormal in the furniture, records show. That prompted federal agents to drill through the bottom of the trailer into the furniture.
According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, the furniture was headed to a Detroit address on West Vernor. The shipping invoice had Ascencion’s name on it.
On July 25, undercover agents pretending to be the truck driver telephoned Ascencion, who asked them to deliver the goods instead to an address on Chopin Street, which they did. About 20 minutes later, Ascencion arrived at the location and helped unload the furniture. Shortly after, he was arrested.
After he had been read his Miranda rights, Ascencion said that he ordered the furniture about a month ago from an individual in Guadalajara, Mexico, who told him he could make extra money by smuggling illegal drugs within the furniture, the affidavit said.
Ascencion also said that he did not know the drugs were inside the furniture until the trailer was about to cross into the U.S.
Ascencion is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
A detention hearing is currently under way to determine whether to keep him in jail, or release him on bond, pending formal arraignment.

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