Trucker arrested at U.S.-Canadian border; $207,000 seized

| 5/8/2002

A truckdriver was arrested at the Peace Bridge border crossing in Buffalo May 1, after allegedly driving away from an inspection station with a U.S. Customs agent hanging onto the truck's cab. A search of the truck's sleeper revealed three bags of cash totaling more than $207,000.

Gawain Cole, a Jamaican citizen living in Toronto and owner of Tachway Trucking, allegedly ignored the agent's order to pull over for a secondary inspection after an initial check revealed what appeared to be a false compartment in the trailer's undercarriage.

Instead of driving to another inspection site as directed, Cole allegedly began driving across the bridge toward Canada. As the truck began moving, the inspector jumped onto the driver's side step and ordered Cole to stop, finally drawing his gun after the truck reached a speed that prevented the agent from jumping to safety.

According to the U.S. Customs Service, Cole laughed, and shifted the truck into high gear. The inspector again shouted the order to stop or he'd have to shoot the driver in the leg. Cole continued to laugh and sped toward the Canadian border.

A custom's vehicle eventually blocked the truck's path. Cole faces charges of failure to report currency in excess of $10,000, assault against a federal officer and use of a deadly, dangerous weapon - the truck - to cause physical injury.