- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department is suing Union Pacific, seeking more than $37 million in penalties for allegedly allowing rail cars to be used to smuggle drugs across the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The Justice Department claims that on 37 different occasions from November 2001 until October 2006, Customs and Border Protection officers found a total of more than two tons of marijuana on Union Pacific rail cars coming into the U.S. The government wants $33.6 million in penalties for those incidents.

Another lawsuit said 17 kilograms of cocaine were found behind a false wall on a rail car in 2003. That suit seeks $4.1 million.

A Union Pacific spokesman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

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