Pair plead guilty in cross-border drug-smuggling case
Two of the four people charged in connection to a cross-border drug smuggling operation between Abbotsford and Washington have now pleaded guilty.
Kali Henifin, 26, and Ryan Lambert, 31 – both residents of Bellingham, Wash. – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute ecstasy, after having initially entered not guilty pleas.
Three other charges against each of them have been dismissed.
The pair, who were previously in a relationship, were arrested April 3, following a day-long manhunt for another man – co-accused Nathan John Hall.
Hall (in photo at left), 35, and Jeffrey Laviolette (in photo below), 37, of Surrey were allegedly walking through a forested area along the U.S.-Canada border from Abbotsford into Washington State on April 2 when they were spotted by border agents.
Both fled, and Hall allegedly fired gunshots. Laviotte was apprehended, but Hall got away, launching a manhunt that involved authorities on both sides of the border.
He was arrested early the next morning at an Abbotsford apartment in which Laviolette's girlfriend was also present.
Hall and Laviolette allegedly discarded two backpacks as they were fleeing the border agents. The bags contained a total of 58.5 pounds of ecstasy, according to the court documents.
The documents also state that Henifin and Lambert were supposed to pick up the drugs from Hall and Laviolette and transport the ecstasy to San Francisco.
Henifin is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 6 in U.S. District Court in Seattle, while Lambert's sentencing is slated for Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, Laviolette's jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 7 in Seattle on five charges – conspiracy to distribute ecstasy, adding and abetting the possession of ecstasy, conspiracy to import, aiding and abetting the importation of ecstasy, and possession of a firearm.
Hall faces the same five charges in the U.S., but is currently in prison in Kelowna on prior charges of theft and breaching his conditions. His next appearance there is scheduled for June 6.