The suspects arrested in yesterday’s cross-border incident were allegedly smuggling the drug ecstasy, and were caught when they were crossing through a forest from Canada into the U.S., according to U.S. court documents.
The complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. district court in Seattle, names Jeffrey Laviolette, Ryan Lambert and Kali Henifin. They have each been charged with conspiracy to distribute ecstasy and possession of ecstasy with the intent to distribute.
A fourth man, Nathan Hall, has not been charged but is identified in the court documents as the man who allegedly fired a gun at U.S. border agents on Tuesday morning.
That man was arrested in Abbotsford early Wednesday morning and is currently in custody of the Abbotsford Police.
Laviolette and Hall are both Canadian citizens.
The federal complaint indicates that at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, U.S. border patrol agents spotted two men in the area of Heady Road and Reese Hill Road, east of Sumas, Wash.
The men were wearing backpacks and were walking from Canada toward the U.S. through a forested area known for drug smuggling.
One of the suspects dropped his backpack and fired a gun. Both men then ran, but agents were able to catch one of them, whom the court documents state was Laviolette.
The agents recovered the two large camouflage backpacks, which allegedly contained 58.5 pounds of ecstasy. They also searched Laviolette and found a walkie-talkie system, according to the court documents.
One of the backpacks also allegedly contained a California driver’s licence bearing the name “William Nickerson” but displaying a photo of Hall.
The two men were supposed to be picked up in the U.S. by Henifin, whose boyfriend, Lambert, was Laviolette’s contact, the documents state.
The complaint states that the meeting never transpired because Henifin and Lambert were listening to a police scanner, and they left the area after they heard reports of a shooting.
Henifin was arrested as she was leaving her apartment in Bellingham. Lambert was arrested after he pulled up to the complex in a vehicle.
Lambert allegedly told agents that he was supposed to drive the narcotics to San Francisco and would be paid $11,000.
Laviolette said that he and Hall had smuggled drugs across the border together on two previous occasions, according to the documents.
The federal complaint says Hall was located at an apartment in Abbotsford and came out of the residence after emergency response team members launched gas munitions.
Also inside the apartment was Laviolette’s girlfriend, according to the documents.
Authorities on both sides of the border were involved in an extensive search, which began at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and ended at 4 a.m. Wednesday, to find the man who fled from border agents.
The search took place in the Columbia Valley area in the U.S. and the Vedder Mountain/Sumas Prairie area on the Canadian side.
None of the allegations in the court documents has yet been proved in court.