The Cat Smuggler fraud money laundering

By maureen mcgarrity, guest contributor my husband, bill, and I had an interesting brush with the canadian border patrol at the detroit/windsor crossing. Suspected of money laundering and hiding a stash of marijuana in our motorhome, our lives were turned upside-down.

After escaping the worst of an ontario winter, we congratulated ourselves on navigating our large vehicle on a three-month florida vacation with our cat, buddy. At the border, with nothing to hide (other than an illegal green onion we’d forgotten in the back of the fridge), we responded to the officer’s normal questions about our trip. But with only five hours of driving to complete our travels, our number was up. We were instructed to wheel the vehicle to a bleak paved area and told to stand outside in the chill winds while an officer inspected our motorhome.

We have a cat, I said.

You’d better hold that cat, ma’am, he said.Fraud money laundering the officer shut himself inside the motorhome.

What the officer didn’t know about buddy was that he was a big, old, tabby barn cat who didn’t warm to situations that interrupted his comfortable retirement and ambitious sleep regimen. When allowed outside the motorhome in florida, buddy was leashed for his own protection. But in my haste to comply with the officer’s instructions, I just picked him up and stood outside the motorhome. I realized too late that the weather was cold and windy—buddy’s least favorite conditions.

First I, then bill, wrestled buddy into a strong-hold enough to contain the disturbed cat. As the wind ruffled buddy’s fur, the feline considered his escape. Within a few minutes the officer stepped back out to the pavement holding in one hand a yellow manila envelope stuffed with laundered money and, in the other, a baggie filled with marijuana.Fraud money laundering at least that’s what he thought he’d found.

All innocent, my husband and I laughed. But the stern look on the officer’s face sobered us. We stammered out explanations for both items, but the officer grew sterner, telling us, this is not a joking matter. Buddy became more panicked as I flustered and blathered what (even to my own ears) sounded like lame excuses in light of the officer’s suspicions.

Buddy had enough of the interrogation. He first squirmed, then clawed his way out of bill’s grasp and dashed for the open door of the motorhome. Bill dabbed the scratches on his cheek with a tissue.

The officer agreed to go back inside the motorhome to resolve the outstanding question of the money and weed. Buddy had skittered to his hiding place, a docile lump on the overhead bed above the cab. The officer turned his attention to the criminals seated at the kitchen table.Fraud money laundering

We explained the envelope of crisp hundred dollar bills, but the officer’s suspicions were relentless.

It’s the leftover money from our holiday. We don’t have an american bank account, so we take our money in cash, and we didn’t spend it all.

And this? Said the officer, unzipping the baggie and dumping the marijuana on the tabletop.

Before I could say, it’s catnip, buddy lunged from his hiding place, a blast of fur past the officer’s ear. Like a gymnast, buddy nailed a full-stop landing on the tabletop. The surprised officer jumped back. He soon realized the attack-cat was a feline addict rolling his thick fur in an ecstasy of catnip.

Now do you believe us? I said, desperately scooping catnip back into the baggie before buddy overdosed and lost his senses.

I’ll just confiscate that green onion, said the embarrassed officer. Don’t bring fruit and vegetables across the border in the future.Fraud money laundering he glared at buddy. You can be on your way.

With the money sequestered in storage, and the catnip in an airtight container, bill got the motorhome underway. For miles the swooning cat sprawled across the table and stared into space. Finally, buddy came down from his catnip-high and jumped up to the bed to sleep it off.