Hidden wall compartments, 'pyramid' boxes and a trick latch: Trucker guilty of trafficking 400 pounds of pot

A Manitoba judge has found a truck driver guilty of trafficking a controlled substance after police found nearly 400 pounds of pot hidden behind boxes of electronics in his trailer during a routine inspection.

In August 2013, officers at the weigh scales in Headingley, Man., stopped Qamer Shams and another man, who was later acquitted of the same charges as Sham, for a routine truck inspection.

The inspector found 388 pounds of raw marijuana stored in three hockey bags in the back of the trailer. A small amount of the drug was also found in the cab of the truck.

In front of the bags was a floor-to-ceiling wall of boxes, stacked up in front of the doors — a technique the judge referred to as "pyramiding" in the ruling.

According to the ruling, issued March 9, an expert witness defined the practice as a "smuggling tactic," used to overwhelm inspecting officers so they choose not to search the trailer.

The inspector found a handful of tweaks to the truck itself: the latch mechanism on the doors, for instance, had been altered so that it could be popped open by removing a nut so that the doors could be opened without breaking the seal usually placed on the trailer door after it's loaded.

He also noticed several hidden compartments behind the walls of the trailer. There wasn't any marijuana behind them, but many of them were filled with scented laundry dryer sheets, which Crown witnesses testified were intended to hide the smell of marijuana.

Shams was with a co-accused at the time of the inspection, but the judge said it was uncertain if the other man knew about the marijuana in the truck.

Shams was convicted of one count of trafficking a controlled substance and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking a controlled substance.