A 21-year-old Canadian woman — who thought she was going on a “shopping spree” — sobbed in Seattle federal court yesterday when a federal prosecutor said that she and her partner could face 20 years behind bars if found guilty of smuggling 167,000 tablets of the club drug Ecstasy across the border, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. That seizure, which amounts to millions of dollars in the illegal drug, underscores the growing use of Washington by Canadian smugglers who employ the Interstate 5 corridor to move Ecstasy across the U.S.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) has recorded steady growth since 2002 in Ecstasy seizures along the Northwest border with Canada, with the numbers spiking sharply this year. In 2003, 47,686 doses were seized. In 2004, the number rose to 258,026. And in just the first four months of this year, 465,220 doses were intercepted at the border. On Monday, Ashley Sabeski and Richard Godin looked dressed for a road trip to the beach when they drove up to a border checkpoint in Blaine, Wa. A suspicious agent searched their pickup truck and found 46 plastic bags filled with blue pills inside the truck bed wall.