A Bosnian who has been living in Canada faces felony charges in one of the largest seizures of Ecstasy pills ever made in Western New York.
Vedran Zavisic, 25, appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court on allegations of attempting to smuggle almost 103,000 pills Monday afternoon over the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
"I believe it's one of the three largest seizures of Ecstasy pills we've ever seen in this area," said Peter Smith, an Immigration and Customs Investigations supervisor in the Homeland Security Department.
"These pills are selling for $10 to $15 each on the street, which puts the street value for this stash at well over $1 million."
A bridge inspector's suspicions prompted agents to search the 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix that Zavisic was driving. The pills were found in plastic bags, hidden inside a spare tire, Smith said.
About nine hours earlier, agents at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls seized 20,770 Ecstasy pills in a car driven by a woman from Peru, who has also been staying in Canada. The pills were hidden under the back seat and under the center console of the car, agents said.
Smith said the driver, Rosario San Martin-Reyes, 40, and her passenger, Magnolia Montenegro-Landaveri, 34, also of Peru, were charged with federal felony counts of smuggling and drug possession. Zavisic faces the same charges.
"We've had a lot of major drug seizures at the bridges lately, and I think it shows that the inspectors are doing an outstanding job," Smith said.
"Despite the publicity over the arrests, people keep trying to do it. Some people can't resist the opportunity to make a lot of money trafficking in drugs."
The U.S. attorney's office presented the cases before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. late Tuesdayafternoon.