B.C. woman sentenced for cross-border drug smuggling
A North Vancouver woman has been sentenced to five years in an American prison for smuggling hundreds of thousands of ecstasy and benzylpiperazine (BZP) pills across the border to Washington State.
Krysta Edwards, 23, was arrested on June 26, 2009, at a storage locker in Bellingham, WA, that contained 26 kilograms of the recreational drugs BZP and ecstasy, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
BZP, an amphetamine-type drug with euphoric properties, is not currently illegal north of the border, but it is under evaluation by Health Canada.
Her Ford Explorer SUV was seized the same day at the Pacific Highway border crossing, where U.S. Customs officers discovered 107,734 tablets of ecstasy in hidden compartments. The total haul weighed about 27 kilograms.
The pills were molded in the shapes of cartoon characters including Transformers and The Simpsons.
During Edwards's trial in U.S. District Court in Seattle, prosecutors presented evidence that she began smuggling pills across the border in December 2008, bringing about 50,000 pills on each visit.
In a memo to the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Crisham wrote that Edwards played an important part in a larger conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the States.
"Edwards was clearly given a significant amount of responsibility within this organization and played a much greater role than the typical drug ‘mule'," Crisham wrote.
Edwards will also serve two years of supervised release at the end of her prison term.
Another Canadian, Maksim Maiburov, is awaiting sentencing for his role in the smuggling operation.