Powerball alibi used in two border busts

U.S.-Canadian border

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB)- A weak Canadian dollar has created a bit of a lull in border traffic between the U.S. and Canada, but a record-breaking jackpot temporarily turned that around.

“In this case it was unique because it’s not often you get such a huge rush for lottery. Football games and hockey games we’re used to, there’s a lot of cross border traffic for that, but for lottery not so much,” said Chief Customs and Border Protection Officer, Aaron Bowker.

That wasn’t the case Wednesday.

CBP officers caught two Canadian women breaking the law, both claimed they were crossing over to play the Powerball.

33-year-old Kenishia Brown, a Canadian resident, was nabbed at the Rainbow Bridge. Bowker said little parts of her story just didn’t add up, so officers sent her in for a second round of checks.

“During a pocket search they found counterfeit $50 bills totaling $2,900,” he told News 4.

Brown was turned over to the Niagara Falls Police Department.

Over at the Lewiston Bridge, 33-year-old Canadian citizen Miranda Ferron also set off red flags, but it was a canine CBP officer who uncovered a Foosball table during her check.

Something about its scent set him off.

Once authorities took it apart, it was clear what it was; 55 pounds of marijuana.

“You see a lot of weird things all the time, but this is the first time I’ve seen marijuana in a Foosball table. That was sort of a unique way to store it, “Bowker said.

The drugs are worth about $60,000 dollars on the street.

Ferron is now in state police custody.

Bowker said that first encounter with CBP officers is vital to nabbing offenders.

He also said catching people claiming they’re entering the U.S. to play the Powerball comes with a unique set of challenges.

“It’s kind of hard to prove you’re going to buy a Powerball lottery ticket. It’s not like going to a hockey game when you have hockey tickets.”

One thing CBP officers look for he said, is where people are trying to enter the country; is it a place you an easily purchase tickets?

In both cases, the officers felt something just wasn’t right, which led to further investigation.

“They talk to thousands of people every day so they’re used to what fits and what doesn’t fit,” Bowker told News 4.

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