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Dave Kolpack, Associated Press, Published October 08 2013

Canadian couple arrested for bulk cash smuggling at ND border

FARGO — A Canadian couple accused of making monthly trips from British Columbia to Manitoba to sell marijuana stashed in hockey bags were arrested when they decided to travel through North Dakota to avoid bad weather, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Robert and Jonna Booth are charged with bulk cash smuggling into and out of the United States. They were scheduled for their first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. No defense attorneys were listed for them ahead of the hearing.

Authorities said the Booths were detained after arriving at the Northgate port of entry in western North Dakota about 4:30 p.m. Monday. They said Customs and Border Patrol officers found about $73,000 in Canadian money stashed behind a cabinet in the bathroom of the couple's motor home.

Investigators said Jonna Booth told them that she and her husband have traveled to Winnipeg once a month since January to sell pot. She said they decided to go through North Dakota this time because of snowstorms in the Canadian Rockies, according to investigators.

Police said Robert Booth told them he won the money gambling at a casino, but they said information in Jonna Booth's journal indicated that the cash came from the sale of marijuana.

Jonna Booth then told officers that the couple started selling the drugs because of financial problems, according to police. They said she told officers the marijuana was transported from British Columbia to Manitoba in two hockey bags.


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