Smuggling During Covid-19 On The Rise!

Drug smuggling unfortunately is on the rise during Covid-19. There are many people out of work right now and instead of being honest upstanding people and either getting another job or start their own business or get government money to help them get by, the bad people have embarked on a very dangerous venture of smuggling drugs utilizing truck drivers and transportation companies as their mode of choice to conduct such activity.

Here is how they do it: They first approach a trucking or transportation company via email or telephone requesting that a shipment be picked up, they are always in a hurry to get it done, they will be a fake company that is using an actual company’s name but changing just one thing slightly to fool you, I will use a fake name here (this is no reference to an actual company) as an example: Luckystrike Trucking they will change it by one letter for example: eLuckystrike. They will send the email with that slight change, please make sure that you google that exact email address that they sent it from, look up the name of the company that they are mentioning, referring to in that email, do NOT do business with them until you have “Risk Vetted” them. Google their name, website, contact information, telephone number, google satellite the location to see visually their location – take a look at their property in the satellite image, is the address location correct? Zoom right in on their location. Look the company name up on news channels such as CityTV or 680 News, or CNN – looking for criminal activity. Check the online OPP and RCMP sites for lists of criminal activities reported.

Check your documentation; Customs Invoice, BOL Bill Of Lading, ACE eManifest, ACI eManifest, Cargo documents – make sure that everything is the same on all documents – names of companies, addresses of pick up locations and drop off locations, contact information, quantities, sizes, goods descriptions, shipping labels. If you can always be present during the loading and unloading. If you are told by the shipper that due to Covid-19 you are not allowed on the loading dock, stand outside of the truck about 6’ from the trailer doors so that you can hopefully see what is being loaded and by whom, this way you can also verify who comes near your truck. If you are told to stay in your tractor/cab, do not, stay outside of the trailer – unless you feel unsafe in which case call the police/911 for help right away. When the shipper hands you the manifest or BOL, check it against the documents that you were sent with by your company to make sure that the product/goods descriptions are the same. Make sure prior to do your 18 point conveyance inspection prior to leaving your company’s yard to do the pick up at the shipper, make sure that your 18 point inspection is done on the physical checklist and that you sign and date it, keep that copy with you in case you are stopped for secondary inspection at the borders.

If something is found in your truck and you are hauled out for questioning or arrest, be sure to ask to make your phone call to your family and to the company you are driving for. The CBP or CBSA Officers will search you, search the truck, check all of the documentation, prior to meeting with you further about whether to release you and your shipment. If they find illegal contraband, they will seize your trailer and potentially your tractor depending on the circumstances, for further investigation. From there you will be given instructions. You and your company are subject to fines as well as storage fees for the time that your trailer and or tractor are on the CBP or CBSA property. Remember, you are guilty until proven innocent at the borders, not the same as with police. If they feel that you are guilty at the border, they will call the RCMP in to have you arrested and taken to jail.

There is a lot of this drug smuggling going on right now. Protect yourself, your conveyance and the company that you are driving for. Do your 18 point inspections, verify all documentation before you leave to pick up the load, try to remain present during the loading, if you are able to visually watch the loading you can put your own seal on, if the shipper puts the seal on be sure to make note of that fact on your 18 point inspection as well as the manifest and the BOL. If you pick up an already loaded trailer with a seal on it, please put SLC beside the inspection points on the checklist (the 18 points one), shipper load and count means that you were not present during the loading of the trailer. Keep your tractor and trailer locked at all times during your trip. If you stop for a coffee anywhere along your route be sure to lock your tractor/cab and seal that trailer, do your 7 point inspection of the outside of the entire conveyance before you get back into your truck and proceed to the border.

If you find any discrepancies in anything mentioned above, please call your dispatch right away!

If you feel that you are in danger or are being followed please call 911.

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For more information about this article, shipping concerns, suspicious activities reporting, border crossings or safety & compliance programs such as CTPAT, FAST, PIP, TTP, AEO, CSA, NEXUS please contact Cross Border Services at