MASSENA — A Cornwall Island, Ontario, man faces allegations that he tried to smuggle more than an a quarter-million dollars across the border between the United States and Canada.
Jade Martin, 25, made an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court, Plattsburgh, on charges that he knowingly concealed $256,910 in U.S. currency in his car, with the intent to evade currency reporting requirements, and attempted to transport that currency from the United States into Canada, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the matter, Mr. Martin was operating an Audi S6Q Tuesday in the northbound lane at the Massena port of entry preparing to enter Canada. His vehicle was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as part of an “outbound operation” conducted by officers.
Mr. Martin was asked if he had more than $10,000 in cash with him, as federal law requires a person to report the transportation of currency over $10,000 upon exiting the United States. He and an unidentified passenger allegedly said they did not have that much money. Officers, noting that the rear windows of Audi were heavily tinted, had Mr. Martin put down the windows to make sure no one else was in the vehicle.
The complaint states that there was a shipping box on the vehicle’s rear seat and when Mr. Martin was asked about the box’s contents he said that “he was unaware of the contents of the box and did not know to whom it belonged.” He told officers the box had been in the car for about a week.
The box was later found to contain three vacuum-sealed bags of U.S. currency and a subsequent search of the car allegedly uncovered four additional vacuum-sealed bags containing money inside a kitty litter box.
According to the complaint, Mr. Martin admitted that the currency was his and that he was aware of the requirements for reporting currency when crossing the international border. He allegedly told officers that he knew he was over the $10,000 threshold for reporting currency and that “it would be taken from him as he had no way to prove that the money belonged to him and was derived from legitimate sources.”
Following his initial court appearance Thursday, Mr. Martin was ordered held in federal custody pending a detention hearing Tuesday. If convicted of the count, he could face up to five years in a federal prison and be ordered to forfeit the seized money.