Accused drug smuggler busted in blackberry jam

Robert Snell
The Detroit News
The Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.

Federal agents Sunday seized more than 280 pounds of cocaine hidden in a load of blackberries, which were being hauled in a tractor-trailer at the U.S.-Canadian border in Port Huron.

The seizure happened Sunday at the Blue Water Bridge as a tractor-trailer driven by Dario Grujic of Guelph, Ontario, tried crossing the international border into Sarnia, according to authorities. Grujic, whose age was not available, was charged in a criminal complaint Monday in federal court.

Grujic told U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers that he was hauling a load of blackberries from Mexico that he had picked up in Texas, according to the complaint.

His court-appointed lawyer could not be reached for comment immediately Monday. If convicted, Grujic faces at least 10 years in federal prison.

Grujic told investigators he did not fully witness the blackberries being loaded onto his trailer, which prompted investigators to use a mobile X-ray device to search the truck and trailer.

During the examination, investigators noticed four anomalies in the truck cab that appeared to be boxes filled with an unknown substance.

Two boxes were stacked behind the driver's seat and two more were located in the sleeper bunk.

In the boxes, investigators found 112 vacuum-sealed kilogram packages of cocaine.

The value of the drugs was unclear.

“It’s one of the largest seizures we’ve ever had up here,” said CBP spokesman Kris Grogan

Then, investigators arrested Grujic, who "slumped his head and remained quiet" as officers placed him in handcuffs, according to court records.

Investigators checked Grujic's travel records and discovered he had crossed into the U.S. in the same truck 25 times since April.

His travel was consistent with drug smugglers who frequently enter points-of-entry with legitimate loads far from the point drugs are smuggled into the U.S., wrote Gregory Abair, a special agent with Immigration & Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, in a court filing.

Grujic is being held without bond pending a detention hearing Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. 

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