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CanadaHigh-stakes helicopter chase at centre of B.C. cross-border drug smuggling bust

10:05  29 august  2019
10:05  29 august  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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2:02 Cross - border drug smuggling bust in B . C . involves helicopter chase . comments Leave a comment. facebook Share this item on Facebook. The black, unmarked helicopter at the centre of an alleged cross - border drug smuggling bust takes off from Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Law enforcement officials say 272 kilograms of narcotics were intercepted in a cross - border drug smuggling operation in June that involved a helicopter chase . High - stakes helicopter chase at centre of B . C . cross - border drug smuggling bust .

High-stakes helicopter chase at centre of B.C. cross-border drug smuggling bust© Courtesy: Okanogan County Sheriff Office In June, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit assisted Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) with a cross border air smuggling investigation on the Okanogan National Forest.

In court documents filed at the Penticton law courts, details are revealed of an alleged international drug smuggling operation, a dramatic aerial police pursuit, and the discovery of a cache of illegal weapons.

In June, authorities were alerted about a planned cross-border drug deal near Winthrop, Washington, according to paperwork filed by police in court to obtain three search warrants.

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“The helicopter took deliberate evasive action, attempting to lose surveillance. The helicopter flew at very low altitudes, near the tops of trees and up narrow draws. It repeatedly changed direction, and made rapid ascents up towards the mountains,” Zeeman wrote. “The helicopter varied its speed in an

Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat TY Ciro from Vancouver Sun. Reading like a script for a Hollywood blockbuster, court documents filed in Penticton recount a high - stakes game of cat and mouse that involved nearly 200 kilograms of methamphetamine and played out in the skies over the Similkameen

U.S. officials staked out a landing site where they believed the drugs would be transferred to Canadian buyers.

READ MORE: Kelowna man arrested, in custody after search warrant at suspected drug house

A black A-star, unmarked helicopter is alleged to have circled the landing zone before something spooked the pilot. Officials believe the pilot may have spotted the covert surveillance team at the landing zone.

The helicopter fled north into Canadian airspace.

An RCMP plane spotted the helicopter on a remote mountainside near Princeton, B.C., and the aerial pursuit was on.

"As police aircraft followed, the helicopter took many evasive maneuvers in an attempt to lose the RCMP aircraft," according to the court documents.

"The helicopter flew at very low altitudes, near the tops of the trees and up narrow draws. It repeatedly changed direction, and made rapid ascents towards the mountains."

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a cross - border drug bust this summer that involved nearly 300 kilograms of meth, more than 100 Details of the bust are in paperwork filed at the Penticton Law Courts to support multiple search B . C ., where a helicopter at the centre of the chase is alleged to have landed with an RCMP plane on its tail.

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The chopper eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack, B.C.

Police said a search of the property, which is owned by the pilot, turned up 72 long guns, 35 handguns, U.S. government helicopter decals, drones and cash.

High-stakes helicopter chase at centre of B.C. cross-border drug smuggling bust© Provided by Corus Television Limited Partnership

Meanwhile, back at the landing site, the Okanogan County Sheriff Department was involved in retrieving the suitcases stuffed full of methamphetamine. The suitcases were abandoned in the Okanogan National Forest near the town of Mazama.

Tanya Roman, a spokesperson for the Homeland Security Investigations branch of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told Global News a total of 272 kilograms of narcotics were intercepted. The street value for the drugs is in the millions of dollars.

“This sizable amount is indicative of the possible involvement of a large and sophisticated smuggling organization,” Roman said in a statement.

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Cross - border drug smuggling bust in B . C . involves helicopter chase – Aug 28, 2019. In an emailed response, police said “the federal RCMP Border “Border patrol agents are committed to preventing dangerous drugs and associated crime from destroying families and communities on both sides of the

READ MORE: High - stakes helicopter chase at centre of B . C . cross - border drug smuggling bust . Smuggling goods into Canada; Giving a false or deceptive statement regarding the importing of goods; Unauthorized possession of a firearm

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“Due to the ongoing investigation and law enforcement sensitivities, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

Two men were arrested near the landing zone, as well as the pilot near Chilliwack.

The pilot’s lawyer told Global News his client has not been formally charged on either side of the border.

Transport Canada's Canadian Civil Aircraft Register shows the helicopter's registration was cancelled in May 2019.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The RCMP declined to comment as it said Homeland Security is the lead on the investigation.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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