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Man arrested at Peace Bridge, charged with unlawfully importing marijuana from Canada

STAFF REPORTS


BUFFALO -- David Dratch, 23, of Montgomery, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with possession of a controlled substance, importation of a controlled substance, and smuggling goods into the United States. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fne.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Astorga, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on October 25, 2018, the defendant was encountered entering the United States from Canada at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry, and was referred for a secondary inspection. During his initial inspection, Dratch stated he did not have any drugs, weapons, or prohibited items.

During the secondary inspection of the defendant’s vehicle, a canine search resulted in an alert to a trained odor on the glove compartment area. A search resulted in the discovery of six envelopes containing marijuana, two jars of marijuana resin, four additional packages containing THC-infused gummy worms, and a piece of paper with “118 George St.” and “289-396-8078” written on it. The address and number linked to the internet address “https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/47483/about.” The website displayed MMJ Canada – Hamilton as well as various marijuana products for sale. The defendant was arrested at that time.

During a search of recent text messages in Dratch's phone, a message to an individual identified as "Max" on the same day stated: “lol bro I just had 100mg edible and I got stopped by customs and now they're asking me so much (expletive).”

The defendant made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was released.

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