Coast Guard, Canadian partners seize marijuana near Alexandria Bay, NY

A Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay, N.Y., boarding team, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, conducts a safety boarding on a pleasure craft in front of the Boldt Castle along the St. Lawrence River. (U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read)

A Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay, N.Y., boarding team conducts a safety boarding on a pleasure craft in front of the Boldt Castle along the St. Lawrence River. (U.S. Coast Guard file photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read)

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard crews and Canadian partners from the Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations team, commonly referred to as the shiprider program, boarded a recreational vessel on a routine law enforcement patrol which resulted in the detection of a personal use quantity of marijuana in the U.S. waters of the Saint Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay, New York, Oct. 17, 2017.

The law enforcement team consisted of personnel from Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The recreational vessel was boarded to ensure that it was in compliance with all applicable regulations for a vessel of its size and type. During the course of the boarding, the joint law enforcement team detected the odor of marijuana onboard. The team located the marijuana, seized the contraband, and detained the vessel operator.

The operator was issued a Coast Guard Notice of Violation for illegal possession of the marijuana and also faces criminal prosecution in the state of New York.

Personnel from New York State Police, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security also assisted in the operation.

“This case validates the effectiveness of the shiprider program, which is specifically designed to counteract criminal activities on the shared waterways of our two countries,” said Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Gris, the enforcement division chief of Coast Guard Sector Buffalo. “The success of our partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has resulted in actionable law enforcement information for both nations, as well as the removal of illegal drugs from our communities.”

The shiprider program is an enduring success story in that it significantly reduces the abilities of individuals and transnational criminal organizations to elude law enforcement by exploiting the international border.

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