Stories about misbehavior in a rental car are fun for us, as a tiny fraction of the population decides to engage in incredibly stupid activities while in rental cars! This week, we get to visit the Canadian / U.S. border where an unfortunate pair of criminals forgot to use the GPS Navigational features on their phones and got stuck on a border crossing. And being on the bridge separating two countries is not ideal when carrying drugs that would result in prison terms if caught in either country! In fact, it sounds like a dilemma that creates a compelling episode of Locked Up Abroad, and one pair will be lucky to receive lumps of coal this year.
According to the Toronto Sun and other sources, our protagonists in a rental car got lost and accidentally took the turn from Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada toward the Peace Bridge and Buffalo, New York. The problems would be the approximately 120 grams of suspected cocaine and $10,000 in the car. Mainly the 120 grams of cocaine. There would be questions about laundering the $10,000 in cash if caught with that alone; both items together suggests drug trafficking.
They didn't get their White Christmas.
So our unfortunate pair is now committed to crossing the border from Canada to the United States. And as we noted in previous #FelonyFriday posts, criminals in rental cars tend to score poorly in strategic implementation (and thus get caught). And there are many questions that arise when contemplating this case.
Question: Could the individuals have simply crossed to the U.S.?
Answer: If they had passports on them, that would have been the choice with the least scrutiny but a risk of getting caught.
Question: Why didn't the passenger just toss the cocaine off the bridge?
Answer: That was my initial question. Overall, it would have resulted in the optimal outcome if they didn't have passports, even if it required climbing into the trunk to locate the drugs. Incidentally, my friends have said for decades that I would be scary if I had chosen a life of crime.
Question: They probably would have been better off just jumping into the Niagara River, throwing the drugs in the river, and running along the shore.
Answer: Not a question but a great thought. If not possessing passports, this has a decent probability of being the second-best alternative.
They did not have a Peace Bridge easy feeling.
The pair decided on "None of the Above". They didn't cross the bridge and they didn't get rid of the drugs. The driver pulled a U-turn on The Peace Bridge, a major international crossing. We know a bit about security and surveillance; doing a U-turn between countries is going to cause scrutiny and the passenger could have still hucked the drugs into the river at this time. The Canada Border Services Agency was probably already curious about the mid-bridge U-turn, before the driver tried to use the NEXUS expedited security lane without a NEXUS card. Nothing to see here!
That combination of choices effectively guaranteed a vehicle search and our two protagonists got handed over to the Mounties with a scheduled court appearance. We know at least two folks in the world who will object to the use of the phrase "Happy Holidays" this year!