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Detroit — In nursing scrubs and a lab coat, Terri Lynn Maxwell told customs authorities she was en route to Henry Ford Hospital to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. She's now facing charges of attempting to smuggle more than 100 pounds of marijuana across the Canadian-U.S. border.

Maxwell, 48, of Amherstburg, Ontario, is named in a federal complaint that alleges conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute and import more than 100 pounds of marijuana. Maxwell is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor Thursday. The offense carries a penalty of 20 years in prison.

 “At a time when health care professionals are working overtime to keep us safe, it’s really shameful that anyone would exploit their status as a nurse to smuggle any kind of drug into our country,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider. “To stop the spread of the coronavirus, our Canadian border is open only for essential travel — and smuggling in marijuana simply isn’t essential.”

According to the criminal complaint, at about 9:07 a.m. Wednesday at the Detroit Ambassador Bridge, Maxwell applied for admission into the U.S. and presented her Canadian passport and work permit. Maxwell also had a placard issued by Canada Border Services Agency showing she is a first responder. The placards were implemented to indicate to officers travelers’ essential reason for crossing the border.

CBP officers had Maxwell open the trunk of her Ford Fusion for an enforcement exam and noticed an odor of marijuana. Upon further inspection officers found 143 vacuum sealed bags of suspected marijuana with a total weight of about 153.69 pounds.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319

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