News

Two years in jail for role in drug-smuggling operation

Police blocked off roads in the area of Marion and Vye in Abbotsford in April 2013 while assisting in the search of a suspect who fled from U.S. border agents.  - Vikki Hopes file photo
Police blocked off roads in the area of Marion and Vye in Abbotsford in April 2013 while assisting in the search of a suspect who fled from U.S. border agents.
— image credit: Vikki Hopes file photo

A U.S. resident involved in a case in which drugs were smuggled through a forested area from Abbotsford into Washington State has been sentenced to a two-year jail term.

Ryan Lambert’s sentence, handed out last Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, will be followed by three years of probation. Lambert previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute ecstasy, while three others charges against him were stayed.

Bellingham residents Lambert and his girlfriend Kali Henifin (both in photo below), who has also pleaded guilty in the case, had made plans to pick up a delivery of the drug ecstasy from two others – Nathan Hall (photo at left) and Jeffrey Laviolette – on April 2, 2013 and transport it to San Francisco.

The drugs never made it to them because, earlier that day, Hall and Laviolette were walking through a forested area along the U.S.-Canada border from Abbotsford into Washington when they were spotted by U.S. border agents.

The two fled and Hall allegedly fired a gun. Both discarded two backpacks as they were fleeing the agents, and the bags were later found to contain 58.5 pounds of ecstasy.

Laviolette (in photo at left) was apprehended at the scene while Hall got away, launching an overnight manhunt that involved authorities on both sides of the border.

Hall, 36, was arrested early the next morning at an Abbotsford apartment where Laviolette’s girlfriend was also present.

Laviolette was sentenced in December to a 10-year jail term on charges of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. Three other charges against him were dismissed.

Hall is currently going through the B.C. court system on other charges – including breaching his probation in Langley, and driving while suspended and resisting a police officer in Mission – and has not yet faced charges in the U.S. case.

He has five charges pending against him south of the border, including conspiracy to distribute ecstasy, conspiracy to import, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The process to extradite him to the U.S. is ongoing.

Henifin, 27, was also scheduled for sentencing last Friday, but did not show up and was ordered to be detained until her rescheduled sentencing. She has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute ecstasy.

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