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Man pleads guilty to smuggling drugs across Peace Bridge

A man from Puerto Rico who attempted to smuggle drugs into the U.S. from Canada at the Peace Bridge pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Joel Torres Diaz, 30, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years behind bars.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul C. Parisi, who is handling the case, said that Torres Diaz was referred May 12 to a secondary inspection at the Peace Bridge, during which  U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers observed a shoebox inside a plastic bag on the rear seat of his vehicle. Inside the box, officers recovered three packages of cocaine weighing about one kilogram.

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