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THREE ACCUSED OF DRUG-SMUGGLING ACROSS BORDER IN 2 SEPARATE CASES

Some recent travelers over the Peace Bridge have been carrying more than gasoline or diesel fuel in their fuel tanks, authorities said Tuesday.

Revenue Canada officials announced the arrests of two Whitby, Ont., residents for allegedly smuggling $858,000 worth of marijuana and hashish in a 1994 passenger van that crossed the Peace Bridge to Canada on Aug. 16.

Customs officers -- with Musk, a dog trained to sniff out illegal substances -- examined the van. Officials said 16,231 grams (approximately 36 pounds) of marijuana and 30,773 grams (approximately 68 pounds) of hashish were found in a rear door side panel and an altered gas tank, officials said.

Enoch Smalling, 33, and Lorraine Smalling, 35, were charged with possession and importing marijuana and hashish for the purpose of trafficking. They were turned over to agents of the Niagara Drug Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In another case, a federal grand jury in Buffalo Tuesday indicted Leeroy Kirkaldy, 29, a trucker from Toronto, for allegedly smuggling more than 130 pounds of cocaine, hashish oil, hashish and marijuana in a false compartment of the fuel tank of his truck.

Kirkaldy was arrested when entering Buffalo at the Peace Bridge on July 31, according to U.S. Customs Service Agent Jeremiah J. Sullivan.

The drugs were found in a hidden compartment in the tank, Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser said.

Authorities did not disclose why they decided to make close inspections of the two vehicles.

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