GREAT FALLS, Mont. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents found 211 pounds of cocaine in a trailer load of bananas.
A release from the Department of Justice says, according to court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that on Jan. 30, CBP officers at the Sweetgrass Port of Entry, in Toole County, were targeting commercial drivers destined for Canada from the United States.
Around 8 p.m. officers saw a Freightliner semi-truck with Alberta license plates traveling north on Interstate 15 at the Sweetgrass Port of Entry.
The driver of the truck was identified as 39-year-old Gurpal Singh Gill of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Officers learned Gill was transporting a load of fresh banana from California to Calgary, however, due to a missing rear seal on the truck’s trailer, a secondary inspection was done.
Seven unmarked boxes were found sitting on top of the bananas in the back of the trailer that were a different color and size from the boxes of bananas.
When the officers opened the boxes they found a white powdery substance that appeared to be cocaine.
An analysis by the Drug Enforcement Administration determined the packages contained about 211 pounds of cocaine.
Gurpal Singh Gill pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine as charged in a superseding information. Gill faces a mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised release.