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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
US-Canada drug tunnel found
    #4432168 - 07/21/05 07:47 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

US-Canada drug tunnel found
July 21, 2005 - theglobeandmail.com

Seattle (AP) U.S. government agents have shut down a drug-smuggling tunnel built under the Canadian border between Aldergrove, B.C., and Lynden, Wash.

Authorities had been monitoring construction of the tunnel for eight months and sealed it Wednesday, shortly after it opened, making three to five arrests in the process, a government employee, who had been briefed by local law-enforcement officials, told the Associated Press.

The exact length of the tunnel was not known. It ran from a building on the Canadian side to a house on the U.S. side, 90 metres from the border, the source said.

The Seattle Times' website reported that investigators used a machine that can "see" underground, a video-equipped robot, a drug-sniffing dog and an air horn to find it.

The tunnel was almost a metre wide and 1.5 metres high with a concrete floor, the Times reported. It had wood-beam supports, fibreglass walls, ventilation, video security and groundwater-removal systems. Several altars with flowers and pictures of saints also were found inside.

BCTV News on Global reported from Vancouver that the tunnel had been punched through the concrete floor of a Quonset hut.

Neighbours said they had suspicions about the building but were shocked to discover what is alleged to have been going on inside.

A woman who lives near the tunnel on the American side of the border said federal agents stopped her when she tried to drive home Wednesday. She said three people were arrested in the abandoned home; Border Patrol agents confirmed the arrests.

"It blows me away," Ruthie Steinfort told the Times. "We're right next to the border station."

Global News reported dozens of police including FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers were at the scene on Wednesday.

It is not clear if Canadian police knew of the U.S. investigation.

Though the tunnel had been under construction for the past several months, Ms. Steinfort said she never heard any noise coming from the rundown property. She said she thought the home was sold about two years ago to an eastern Washington couple, but she never saw anyone set foot on the property.

Such tunnels aren't uncommon in U.S. border towns.

In March, U.S. officials found a tunnel that had been dug from a middle-class San Diego-area neighbourhood to an upscale residence in Mexico, the Times reported.

Most officials wouldn't talk about the case on Wednesday, saying a news conference and release would be made available on Thursday.

Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle, declined comment, as did Michael Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The RCMP could not be reached for comment.

Canadian officials estimate 1.7 million kilograms of B.C. marijuana are produced annually, with as much as 50 per cent of it smuggled to the United States at points as far east as Michigan.


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InvisibleLeftyBurnz
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4432457 - 07/21/05 10:44 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

smart sons of bitches, i wonder how the cops found out about it.


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Offlinepshawny
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: LeftyBurnz]
    #4433137 - 07/21/05 01:47 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

That is pretty clever, but they must have screwed up somewhere. Probably told one to many people about it.


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InvisibleLeftyBurnz
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: pshawny]
    #4435615 - 07/21/05 11:01 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

yeah..... if i were to go to the trouble of digging a damn tunnel for drugs NOONE would know. not even my best friend. not even the shroomery lol


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OfflineEkstaza
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: LeftyBurnz]
    #4437776 - 07/22/05 01:27 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Especially not the Shroomery!!!
There's too many eyes here.


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YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH ANY GIVEN DRUG ISN'T THE DEFINITIVE MEASURE OF THE DRUGS EFFECTS.


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4440990 - 07/23/05 02:37 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Tunnel crew Hells Angels' rivals
July23, 2005 - theglobeandmail.com

Three British Columbians accused of building a tunnel under the border to smuggle drugs into the United States are part of a network of organized crime that rivals the Hells Angels, RCMP Inspector Pat Fogarty alleged yesterday.

The Hells Angels is widely regarded as the benchmark for organized crime, Insp. Fogarty said in an interview. But the bikers are well known mainly because they identify themselves with patches on their back, he said.

"The reality is, there are many, many more, involved in activities that are far more lucrative, and they have decided to keep themselves completely out of the limelight," Insp. Fogarty said.

"These guys are organized crime working together to make money, no different than what the Hells Angels are doing except they keep a very low profile," he alleged.

After an extensive international investigation, U.S. authorities arrested three British Columbians on Thursday on charges of conspiracy to distribute and import more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana into the United States through a well-constructed tunnel from a hut on the Canadian side of the border to a farmhouse on the U.S. side.

The accused have not responded publicly to the allegations yet.

Acquiring the properties and building the tunnel would have cost more than $1-million, Insp. Fogarty said. The 1.2-metre by 1.2-metre tunnel, running between one metre and three metres below the surface, was wired for lighting and included a sump pump to drain off water regularly and a mechanical winch to raise or lower cartloads of drugs. It is the first tunnel ever discovered on the Canada-U.S. border.

Insp. Fogarty, who led the RCMP's combined forces special enforcement unit during the investigation, said the police believe the people who constructed the tunnel associated with members of organized crime networks in B.C. that ship multimillion-dollar drug orders across the border.

"[The three accused] are very well known to police," he said.

They do not operate as part of a gang, he added. "It's organized crime using the expertise of each other to create an infrastructure that allows them to do what they need to do," he said.

Marijuana growers in B.C. operate independently of brokers who arrange markets in the United States for the drugs, he said. The truckers who transport the commodity are also independent.

"One day they woke up, or whatever, and they saw there was a market in moving product, a huge market," he said. "What these guys decided to do, creatively, is construct a tunnel," he alleged.

Police believe one of those arrested has some expertise in construction, another had access to financing, he said.


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4448152 - 07/24/05 09:41 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Tunnel helps B.C.'s reputation as a pot mecca
July 24, 2005 - ctv.ca

VANCOUVER - It's known as the marijuana capital of Canada, a haven for potheads, where grow-ops spring up at such a rate that police can't keep up with the multibillion-dollar industry that rivals tourism and forestry with its economic clout.

It's British Columbia, where the words "This bud's for you" have nothing to do with beer.

Now, B.C.'s international reputation as a mecca for marijuana has been further solidified after Canadian and American law enforcement officials discovered a secret tunnel beneath the Canada-U.S. border to smuggle -- what else? -- pot.

Three B.C. men have been charged in Washington state with conspiracy to distribute and import marijuana after the tunnel -- longer than a football field and complete with ventilation and electricity -- was used to sneak across their first load of cannabis.

American officials have busted 33 cross-border tunnels between Mexico and Arizona but the one discovered last week was the first between Canada and the U.S., said Jeff Eig, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Seattle field division.

Construction of the north-south tunnel is a likely sign that increased enforcement by Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security since 9-11 is so effective that B.C. smugglers had to go underground, Eig said in an interview.

"It's something, certainly, that we're going to be looking at more aggressively,'' he said.

Marijuana activist Marc Emery, dubbed the Prince of Pot by American media, said the sophisticated tunnel will only inflate Vancouver's reputation for weed.

"It will remind Americans that we're producing pot and we're trying to get it to them in any way possible,'' he said.

"I was crushed to discover (the tunnel) had been discovered so early in its history,'' quipped Emery, who has twice made a run for mayor of Vancouver and is founder of the B.C. Marijuana party.

The pot politician, who has made millions with his marijuana seed business, also founded Cannabis Culture magazine and Internet-based Pot-TV.

At Emery's B.C. Marijuana party headquarters and bookstore, the smell of pot clings to the air as a man smokes weed from a bong -- a water pipe.

Tourists, many from the U.S., hang around the store, taking in the sights and scents of the place they discovered on the Internet or heard about from friends.

A couple named Linda and Frank, from Austin, Texas, seem enraptured by the pot paraphernalia that includes marijuana seeds -- with names like Atomic Haze, God Bud and Lethal Purple -- pipes and magazines such as High Times.

Smoking pot in a store isn't something you'd see back in Republican "Bush country'' or anywhere in the U.S., says Linda, adding there's just too much conservative thinking where she comes from.

"Y'all have conservative people here too who think it's a detriment to British Columbia but look at all the tourism you're having,'' gushes Linda, who doesn't want her last name published.

Linda, a stay-at-home mom, is basically along for the scenery, while Frank says he's been a pot aficionado for a few years.

"Vancouver has the reputation in the United States, from my impression, of being the Amsterdam of the North American continent,'' he says.

A few minutes later, the two head next door to the New Amsterdam Cafe, where neon signs advertising marijuana seeds jump out at passersby and where Frank enjoys a joint with seven strangers getting high in the Smoke Room.

In the cafe, people are sitting at the tables and rolling doobies without a care.

You'd think it was all legal.

Insp. Paul Nadeau, of the RCMP's Co-Ordinated Marijuana Enforcement Team, said police are well aware of the activities at three businesses in the gritty part of Vancouver that borders on the city's Downtown Eastside, where cocaine and heroin are kings among the junkies.

Anyone smoking marijuana can be charged with possession while those selling it can be on the hook for trafficking, Nadeau said.

But police are concentrating their limited resources on bigger problems -- the explosion of grow-ops.

"The marijuana grow-ops, we get 5,000 reported to us every year but we're only able to deal with or bust about 30 per cent of that,'' Nadeau said.

In 2003, 4,514 grow-ops were reported in B.C., with an average of 236 plants per grow, Nadeau said. That's up from 1,489 grow-ops six years earlier that averaged 149 plants each.

It's not uncommon to see some grow-ops with over 1,000 plants, he said.

"We're just flooded, we're drowning in the numbers and we need to resolve that because running around from one grow-op to the next, seizing plants and sending people to court where very little if anything happens to them, is not the way to go.''

Grow-ops are seen as easy money by people who weigh the risk and reward factor and decide to go for it, Nadeau said, adding there's only an eight per cent chance that anyone growing pot will see the inside of a jail cell.

"We've got the lowest sentencing, certainly on marijuana grow-ops, of any province across Canada.''

New organized crime groups are becoming a huge part of the marijuana industry in B.C., Nadeau said.

While Asians and Vietnamese are increasingly growing the pot, outlaw biker gangsters are brokering it, Indo-Canadian gangs are transporting it and white-collar criminals are laundering the money that injects about $7 billion a year into the province's economy, he said.

For police, the pot problem is no longer confined to B.C.

"This issue has spread across Canada now. In the last two or three years the (grow-op) numbers are increasing very quickly, especially in Ontario and Quebec."

Most of the marijuana from the eastern provinces is also destined for the U.S., he said.


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4457158 - 07/26/05 09:44 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

U.S. to seal off drug tunnel
July 26, 2005 - fftimes.com

Officials in the United States' Drug Enforcement Administration are working to permanently seal off a tunnel that was constructed to smuggle marijuana from British Columbia.

Joe Giuliano, deputy chief of Border Patrol in Blaine, Wash., said yesterday that military and law enforcement personnel are discussing the use of a hardening foam that would be injected into the tunnel to close it off.

"Digging through that will be a heck of a lot harder than digging through the dirt in the first place," Giuliano said.

"I'm pretty confident that it's down for the count once that stuff goes in."

American officials had been monitoring the construction of the 110-metre tunnel since earlier this year after Canadian border personnel alerted them to the possibility that a tunnel was being dug between the two countries.

A joint investigation revealed three B.C. men allegedly were involved in building the tunnel equipped with electricity, ventilation, wood supports, and ribbed steel bars to reinforce it.

Construction was finished earlier this month, and U.S. police arrested the Surrey, B.C. men last week after they snuck across a load of pot.

The tunnel stretched from a metal hut in Langley, B.C. to a point underneath the living room of a house in Lynden, Wash., where police had installed cameras and microphones.

Giuliano said he has almost three times the staff since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United Sates to be the eyes and ears at the border crossing in Blaine.

Conservative MP Mark Warawa, who toured the Langley property where the elaborate tunnel began, said the Canadian government needs to follow the U.S. example and increase the number of RCMP officers between border points.

"Without adequate resources, we can't adequately protect Canada," Warawa warned.

More cocaine from the U.S., often exchanged for B.C. marijuana, could have made its way back to Canada had the tunnel not been discovered, he said.

"These people are not sneaking in jugs of milk."


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4463751 - 07/28/05 10:41 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

New focus falls on northern border after discovery of drug tunnel
July 28, 2005 - montereyherald.com

SEATTLE - (KRT) - In the most remote parts of the 4,000-mile border the United States shares with Canada, more than 200 roads snake between the two countries, miles from homes and shops - unwatched and unprotected.

And at 62 border stations along the route, agents can't link to computers that would allow them to screen incoming travelers for potential terrorists, border agents recently said in a Canadian Senate committee meeting.

The recent discovery of a tunnel for smuggling marijuana from British Columbia into Washington state - the first tunnel found on the northern border - has focused new attention on what has long been known as the world's longest undefended border.

While authorities on both sides have beefed up security and added staffing since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many believe the stretch remains hugely vulnerable - to illegal crossings, drug smuggling and especially terrorism.

Organizers of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp., the civilian volunteers who made a name for themselves tracking the crossing of illegal immigrants into Arizona from Mexico last spring, believe the northern border poses enough of a security threat that they are bringing the project to Washington and other border states in the fall. It was unclear how big the group's presence here will be, but a spokeswoman said it has been flooded with volunteers.

"I share the concern that it is very vulnerable - particularly from the Canadian side," said James Bissett, former head of the Canadian Immigration Service, the forerunner of that country's current immigration agency.

Through his writings, Bissett has consistently raised red flags about border security. "There's so much more we can do, but we probably won't until we have our own incident up here," he said.

John Keeley, with the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank that supports stricter immigration control, pointed out that the United States' northern border is twice the length of its border with Mexico. Yet the 1,000 or so agents assigned to the north are a fraction of the nearly 10,000 who patrol the Mexican border.

"That border is so large and so porous, it ought to be of grave concern for the American government, not because Canada poses any threat, but because Canada has a consistently lax asylum regime and conspicuously lax immigration regime.

"Basically, the mischief makers can get into the United States unimpeded. That's a cold, hard reality."

United States border officials say the country's northern rim might be undefended but is not unmonitored.

"Just because we don't have people standing shoulder to shoulder on every mile does not mean we don't know what's going on out there," said Joe Giuliano, Blaine sector deputy chief of the Customs and Border Patrol.

In recent years, security measures have been added on both sides of the border.

On the Canadian side, the border is monitored by 23 teams of border agents assisted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local police. Still, most of Canada's 160 land and maritime border crossings are staffed by only one unarmed guard - and long stretches between entry points go unmanned.

On the U.S. side, new camera-surveillance systems have gone online, and since Sept. 11 the Border Patrol force has been boosted by about one-third, to 1,000. Also, the Department of Homeland Security has added small air and marine operations near Blaine, Wash., and Plattsburgh, N.Y., and plans others in Michigan, North Dakota and Montana.

Besides the technology, the border has an extensive monitoring network that includes private residents and Canadian authorities, an advantage missing on the Mexican border, said Giuliano.

"We have a great deal of public input," Giuliano said. "People call us when they see things, when they sense something is wrong.

"All these things coming together tend to discourage attempted crossings. This machine that is the Department of Homeland Security is working."

It's a delicate dance - beefing up security while trying to maintain the tradition of openness between the neighboring countries.

"We have one of the longest borders, and it's also remained one of the friendliest," Giuliano said. "It's not practical to isolate ourselves from one another with fences. It's also inaccurate to assume this is a U.S.-only concern; it's a binational issue. Canada is just as vulnerable as we are."

Minuteman Project organizers say they are training volunteer leaders now for the Washington operation, set for October. Connie Hair, a spokeswoman for the group, said volunteers are responding from across the country, including many here in Washington.

"The southern border gets a lot of attention," Hair said. "The north needs protection for that very reason."

Magdaleno "Leno" Rose-Avila, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, suggested volunteers might want to take their fishing gear along. He believes they'll have a lot of idle time on their hands.

Their mission, he said, "is a misplaced reaction to the issue of terrorism and immigration."

"Some in the news media have tried to link immigrants crossing the border with terrorism," he said, "when in fact we know that those who want to do harm to our country have other ways of entering, other than on foot or in vehicles."


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4484115 - 08/02/05 03:52 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

'Sneak, peek' warrant used in tunnel bust
August 2, 2005 - billingsgazette.com

SEATTLE (AP) - The USA Patriot Act made it possible for federal investigators to search and bug a 360-foot tunnel under the U.S.-Canadian border, and then watch and listen as hundreds of pounds of marijuana were carried through it.

Government agents surreptitiously installed video and audio devices after obtaining a "sneak and peek" warrant, which allows searches that leave no trace and are conducted without immediate notification of the subject.

Regular search warrants require that the subject be notified immediately after a search. Usually notice is left at the scene, with details about any removal of items.

With a sneak-and-peek warrant - also called a delayed-notice warrant - investigators arrange the timeline of the delay with a judge. Most often, suspects are notified within 30 days, said Doug Whalley, an assistant U.S. attorney in Seattle.

As Congress prepares to reauthorize parts of the law, some legislators and civil-rights groups want to scale back some of the powers it grants. The Senate Judiciary Committee, for example, recently introduced a bill that would greatly limit how "sneak-and-peek" activity is conducted.

"I think that the power that the government has under the Patriot Act ... is clearly contrary to the notion underlying the Fourth Amendment," said former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., who leads an organization called Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.

The secret warrants are "being used in cases that have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism," Barr said.

Whalley said the Patriot Act codified existing law and made it difficult to challenge the use of sneak-and-peek warrants in court. Before the law went into effect, rulings were made on a case-by-case basis. Appeals courts could decide whether the warrants were improperly issued.

Under Patriot Act warrants, suspects often are not aware for months that their properties have been searched, said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The Justice Department decided to create a statutory right across the board, to try and create a national right of law enforcement to create secret searches of businesses and homes, secret seizures of evidence," she said.

Whalley said prosecutors "don't eagerly use these methods of surveillance. The process is very labor-intensive. If you watch TV, they get a search warrant within 10 minutes. Something like this, where you want to go in and not announce your presence if we're lucky, the turnaround is two days, and that's fast."

When discovery of the tunnel was announced last month, federal officials cited concerns it could be used to smuggle terrorists or weapons, not just drugs.

Civil-rights advocates are skeptical.

"The tunnel has nothing to do with the war on terrorism. ... There's absolutely no reason why the authorities couldn't have availed themselves of the normal ways possible," said Bob Mahler, a Seattle criminal-defense attorney.

"They just didn't feel the need to use the normal, constitutionally mandated processes because they had this new tool that was given to them," Mahler said.


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4580556 - 08/25/05 06:40 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

U.S. begins destruction of drug tunnel
August 25, 2005 - canoe.ca

U.S. officials began destruction Thursday of a tunnel that they say a criminal organization thought would be a "gold mine" in the smuggling of drugs from British Columbia to Washington state.

A backhoe cut through the roadway above the tunnel near the Lynden border crossing, south of Vancouver, where cement barriers will be placed then buried with gravel. A cement-like mixture will fill the rest of the tunnel that ends under a Lynden home.

"It should demonstrate to others that might think of doing the same that we'll find out about it, like we did in this case, beforehand and we will make sure we shut it down," said Rodney Benson, special agent in charge of the Seattle Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"This tunnel will be filled with concrete and will never be used again."

Benson said those arrested when the DEA raided the operation last month were shocked when authorities moved in.

"This was going to be their gold mine," he said, "Their intention was to move thousand and thousands of pounds of narcotics through that tunnel."

Five people, including three men from Surrey, B.C., have been charged in the U.S. with various drug and smuggling offences, and face minimum sentences of 10 years to life.

Benson said more arrests are expected.

The first covert tunnel ever discovered between Canada and the U.S. was shut down in July by police from both sides of the border after authorities monitored its construction.

The 110-metre tunnel stretched between a metal hut in Langley, B.C., to a point underneath the living room of the house in Lynden, where police had installed cameras and microphones.

An engineer for the city of Langley was impressed with the tunnel's construction.

"The tunnel is surprisingly well built, for a bunch of amateurs," said Clive Roberts, manager of design and construction in Langley's engineering department.

Next week, engineers on the Canadian side of the tunnel will close it as they would an old mining shaft, by drilling holes in to the tunnel and pumping in a mix similar to cement.

RCMP Insp. Al Mullin, who watched the backhoe dig down to the tunnel, said there a lot of planning went into its construction.

"There was a significant amount of investment, financially . . . buying property on both sides of the border," he said.

American authorities say a process is underway to seize the house in Lynden where the tunnel ended.

Anna Banks, who is a neighbour to the property on the Canadian side of the border, said she was shocked when they announced the discovery.

"I never thought anybody would do it, because there's border patrol here all the time," she said.

The structure was so sophisticated that it was equipped with electricity, ventilation and sump pumps to ensure water didn't gather. The builders had also installed a small cart to allow them to move freight or people from one end to the other.

The U.S. Justice Department said 42 kilograms of pot were transported through the tunnel and then loaded into a van last month.

The van drove to a shopping mall in Bellingham, Wash., where the marijuana was loaded into another vehicle. The pot was seized after the second vehicle was stopped by the Washington State Patrol.


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InvisibleLeftyBurnz
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4581460 - 08/25/05 10:31 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

the next news headline well see about this is "New drug tunnel found 2 houses down from last"


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OfflinePerfectlyDefectd
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: LeftyBurnz]
    #4581497 - 08/25/05 10:40 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

very interesting.. thanks for the article.. that might have been the most interesting thing that i have read on the shroomery ever.. too bad it got shut down.. but damn.. great story


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InvisibleLeftyBurnz
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Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: PerfectlyDefectd]
    #4582279 - 08/26/05 01:07 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

good to know that there are probably many dozens if not hundreds of these tunnels.


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: US-Canada drug tunnel found [Re: veggie]
    #4734189 - 09/30/05 12:41 AM (12 years, 2 months ago)

U.S. aims to seize ownership of B.C. 'drug tunnel' property
September 29, 2005 - mytelus.com

LANGLEY, B.C. (Black Press) - The United States has every intention of attempting to seize a Langley property, if the U.S. Attorney's office is successful in convicting a Canadian charged with drug smuggling through a cross-border tunnel, according to an assistant United States Attorney.

"It is forfeitable through the U.S. under criminal laws," said Richard Cohen an Assistant U.S. Attorney based in Seattle, who indicated that the criminal charge against Francis Devandra Raj, 30, has to stick.

"In order to do a criminal forfeiture, the defendent must be convicted first."

While there has been several drug tunnels discovered on the southern U.S. border with Mexico, this appears to be the first cross-border tunnel that originated from Canada.

According to Cohen, the U.S. has been successful in seizing Canadian revenue, in collecting the proceeds of crime. However, seizing land from Canada as a result of an arrest in the U.S., may be a precedent - at least in the Pacific North West.

"As far as I know, we haven't done it with real property (from Canada) in this district," said Cohen.

"I can't speak for the rest of the country."

To make that seizure, Cohen admitted that there would have to be an international agreement with Canada, and ultimately a conviction against Raj, who has already agreed not to sell, or transfer the property while the U.S. case is pending.

"We have to request assistance of foreign jurisdiction, in order to enforce that order (to seize the property)," he said. "We would do that, if we had a conviction."

Langley Township's mayor can appreciate the merits of a successful joint police investigation on both sides of the border, and is in favour of stiff penalties.

Mayor Kurt Alberts can also understand why the U.S. would want to seize the property in question, as a method of ensuring criminal consequence.


However, Langley Township is still owed $35,000 for filling in the tunnel, and may have some other property expenses to collect.

"We of course look for recovery of the money from the property," he said. "We would in effect, put a charge against that property, to recover that."

Langley's Conservative MP Mark Warawa has his own problems with Canada's legislation for collecting the proceeds of a crime.

He says the Canadian landowner involved in the cross-border drug bust has to be charged in Canada, before the Crown prosecutor can apply to seize property. And if this happens, then the U.S. would have to stand in line, to seek compensation for proceeds of a crime.

"Canada would be number one on the list," said Warawa, who has been fending off phone calls, emails and other enquiries from area residents who are concerned about potential U.S. seizure of the Aldergrove property - and what has been developing into a sovereignty issue.

"It has been a hot topic over the summer," he said.

"There's been frustration that Langley was handed a $35,000 bill to fill in the hole, and the federal government needs to compensate Langley residents for that. It should be a federal expense."

As a result, Warawa has penned a letter to Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, asking for Langley Township's compensation in this case, and other outstanding commercial fees, which might include a bank mortgage related to the property.

That property is located on 0 Avenue, near the Aldergrove/Lynden border crossing, and was worth approximately $500,000 when it was purchased recently by the accused, according to the Langley MP.

The property contains a home and a hut, which housed one end of a 110 metre tunnel, which surfaced on the U.S. side, on Boundary Road.

The tunnel was shut down in July, and three Canadians were arrested on the U.S. side.

Raj, Timothy Woo, 34, and Jonathan Valenzuela, 27, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and import marijuana. They are being held in Washington state and have a trial set for Oct. 17.


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