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Agassiz couple plans to plead guilty
Jonna and Robert Booth, from Agassiz, have both now plead guilty to bulk cash smuggling into the United States.
The couple will face a judge for sentencing in North Dakota on Jan. 23. Court documents obtained by Black Press show that the Booths will plead that they entered North Dakota from Canada with the intent to evade a currency reporting requirement, and knowingly hid more than the allowed $10,000. They were carrying $73,080, hidden in a panel of their camper.
They are facing a jail term of five years, a fine of $250,000 and one year of supervised release.
Because of their guilty plea, there will be no trial. Their agreement to plead guilty could lessen their imprisonment time.
Jonna and Robert Booth's troubles began when they attempted to cross the border into Northgate, North Dakota on Oct. 8. They were traveling in a 1999 Coach Camper, and were chosen for a secondary inspection. An inspection of the vehicle revealed the cash stowed away in a panel of the camper. The Booths were immediately separated and detained. While they both initially claimed to officers that the money was won gambling, Mrs. Booth is said to have changed her story when officers told her they found her journal, and knew that the money was actually from the sale of marijuana.
Booth then told officers the couple had endured financial hardship, and in January this year they had began running drugs to Manitoba about once a month. She could not say how much marijuana had been transported, and how much they had made.
They had crossed into the U.S. to avoid traveling through the Rockies, after learning of poor weather in that area. They had just finished transporting an unknown amount of marijuana, stowed under their front seats as they traveled across Canada, to a house in Winnipeg.