A Canadian man is facing charges south of the border after U.S. agents found approximately 650 kilograms – 1,432 lbs – of methamphetamine on a boat heading towards the Canada-U.S. border.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, the drugs were seized Wednesday morning (May 25) by Marine Interdiction Agents during inspection of an 5.5-metre Bayliner speedboat spotted riding low in waters approximately 800 metres from the border.
“Upon boarding the vessel, the Marine Interdiction Agents discovered 28 duffel bags containing cellophane wrapped cylindrical packages,” a news release issued Thursday (May 26) states.
“The contents of the packages were later tested, and it was determined they contained methamphetamine.”
In addition to the drugs, agents seized the boat and a Glock 9mm handgun, it adds.
The boat pilot – a Canadian – was arrested on a count of drug distribution.
Alberta resident Ted Karl Faupel appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday.
His attorney, federal public defender Vanessa Pai-Thompson, declined to comment.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in the U.S. court, Faupel told investigators that he had been hiking near a marina in Sidney, on Vancouver Island, when someone approached him and offered him $1,000 to move a boat from Anacortes, Washington, and back.
According to the complaint, he said he left from Vancouver Island on Tuesday. He said four men met him at a Washington State Parks boat dock, took the boat on a trailer and dropped him off at an inn. The next day, they brought him back to the dock and he left in the newly loaded boat to return to Canada.
He said he did not know what was in the duffel bags, the complaint said.
“Due to the vigilance and exceptional skills of our Marine Interdiction Agents, the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch was able to prevent these dangerous narcotics from harming members of our communities,” Jeremy Thompson, the director of Air and Marine Operations at the Bellingham CBP branch, said in the USCBP release.
“This latest incident is a testament to the dedication of Air and Marine Operations personnel to keeping communities on both sides of the border safe.”
– with files from The Associated Press
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