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Indian-origin female truck driver admits trafficking nearly 30 kg of cocaine in watermelon pallets

New York, Jan 19 (IANS) An Indo-Canadian commercial truck driver admitted to a drug trafficking crime after authorities in the US found approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine in watermelon pallets.

Kareshmaa Kaur Jagroop (42) from Ontario, was attempting to enter Canada at the Montana border when she was caught by the Customs and Border Protection officers, US Attorney Jesse Laslovich said on Tuesday.

Jagroop pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine as charged in a superseding information and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release.

The government alleged in court documents that in July 2021, a commercial truck was northbound on Interstate 15 near the Sweetgrass Port of Entry in Toole County.

As it approached the border in the outbound lane, Customs and Border Protection officers signaled the truck to stop, but the driver ignored the signal and continued past the outbound booth.

Officers chased down the truck, which eventually stopped, and had Jagroop reverse the truck back to the outbound booth for inspection.

As part of the inspection, Jagroop drove through a screening machine, which showed potential anomalies in the trailer. Officers conducted a manual search and unloaded the contents with a forklift.

They removed two pallets of watermelons and saw a plastic bag that contained approximately 30 kg of cocaine.

During an interview, Jagroop told officers she entered the US about a week prior to the stop and delivered produce to supermarkets in Oregon and California.

She eventually admitted that she was hauling cocaine for a group in Canada.

Jagroop’s sentencing has been set for May 23 and she was released on conditions to a treatment centrer in Montana pending further proceedings.

The court will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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