Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Couple Faces U.S. Charges for Allegedly Importing, Exporting Fentanyl

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Couple Faces U.S. Charges for Allegedly Importing, Exporting Fentanyl

Article excerpt

Canadian couple faces drug charges in U.S.

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A Canadian couple is accused of importing fentanyl products from China into the United States and then mailing the powerful opioid drugs to Canada.

Karl and Sorina Morrison, both 59, were arrested at a border crossing near Niagara Falls, N.Y., last month after an investigation by U.S. authorities.

The Kitchener, Ont., couple has been charged with conspiracy to import and export controlled substances and analogues, and attempt to export controlled substances and analogues.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1-million fine.

The couple has pleaded not guilty.

In a criminal complaint filed with a New York court, a Homeland Security agent says a package mailed from China to Karl Morrison at a mailbox in a UPS store in Niagara Falls, N.Y., contained four packets, two of which were found to contain types of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an opioid-based pain killer roughly 100 times stronger than morphine.

"The Morrisons were attempting to smuggle the packages they received from China from the United States to Canada so as to avoid examination by the customs service of either country because the Morrisons knew the contents of the packages to be contraband," agent Curtis Ryan writes in the complaint.

The complaint notes that the Morrisons have a son and that since 2009, five packages mailed to him were seized by the Canada Border Services Agency after they were found to contain controlled substances.

In the current case, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted Ryan to a mail package that was considered suspicious because it originated from a known Chinese producer of fentanyl. The package was addressed to Karl Morrison, who maintains a mailbox at a UPS store in Niagara Falls, N.Y., the complaint said.

Ryan said he examined the package, which contained plastic bags with powders. Testing revealed that at least some of the bags contained types of fentanyl.

On Oct. 15, the Morrisons entered the U.S. from Canada at the Lewiston Queenston border crossing, stating that they intended to go shopping at an outlet mall, the complaint said. …

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