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U.S. customs smoke out first airdrop of B.C. bud

By Hempology | November 29, 2002

From the Province, November 28th, 2002

By Keith Fraser

Arrest of two flyers just latest case of “creative” smuggling into Wash.

An airdrop of B.C. pot is the latest wrinkle in the multibillion-dollar drug-smuggling trade into

A private aircraft dumped three duffel bags full of 38.5 kilos of marijuana, worth an estimated $255,000 US,
near Mount Baker at noon Monday.

The plane was being tracked by U.S. Customs Service aircraft – and two Canadian men aboard, one from North
Vancouver and the other from Westbank, were arrested by RCMP when they landed at Langley airport.

Mike Milne of the Customs Service office in Seattle said airdrops of drugs have been done in other parts
of the U.S., including Florida and along the U.S.-Mexican border, but it was a first for Washington state.

“Basically, as creative as the imagination of a smuggler can be, is how they will try to smuggle it,” he said.

The drug seizure comes after another B.C. bud bust on the weekend in which nearly 136 kilos in six duffel bags
were seized from the sleeper cab of a truck on the Pacific Highweay crossing. The marijuana, valued at
$800,000 US, was being moved from Abbotsford to San Jose, Calif.

In the past year, customs officials have seen B.C. bud hidden in the false walls of trailers, mixed in with
shipments of beer and other commodities and in false compartments of trucks and recreational vehicles.

In past years, a Canadian military vehicle was used to try to smuggle pot across the border and a
helicopter was seized that police said had been used to transport drugs into the U.S.

“We haven’t seen anybody catapult it over yet, but maybe that’s going on, too,” said Dave McEachern, a
Whatcom County, Wash. prosecutor. “All of the other methods seem to be going on all the time.”

Since Sept. 11, with increased anti-terrorism vigilance at the border, the amount of B.C. bud seized has
doubled. At the same time, the price of B.C. bud is dropping in California, indicating that even more is
slipping past authorities.

The number of felony drug cases being prosecuted in Whatcom County alone is estimated to be 150 this year,
up from 138 last year, and most of those are B.C.-bud cases, said McEachern.

The Whatcom County court system is already “clogged up” with other cases, meaning the extra load of B.C.
bud cases is placing a burden on the system, he said.

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