Smugglers arrested in B.C. after abandoning $2.8M worth of drugs south of U.S. border

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RCMP arrested two men after they were caught fleeing from Idaho into B.C. on Friday — shortly after U.S Border Patrol agents recovered abandoned duffle bags containing more than $2.8 million in cocaine and methamphetamine.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) say they were alerted to suspicious activity on a remote service road near Bonners Ferry, Idaho, just south of the border near Creston, B.C.

"An agent responded to the area and located two individuals who were concealing themselves," said Jason Givens, press officer with the CBP.

As the agent approached, Givens said, the two men fled into Canada. The agent then found five duffle bags in the area where the pair were hiding.

The bags contained 38.1 kg of cocaine and 89.8 kg of methamphetamine — together valued at approximately $2.8 million.

RCMP in Canada were notified and a search began for the suspects, involving the Osoyoos Border Integrity Team, RCMp Police Dog Services and members of the Creston and Cranbrook RCMP detachments.

Despite adverse weather conditions, Jason Arkinstall and Lawrence Dwyer were eventually found, arrested and charged in connection with the importation/exportation of a controlled substance, RCMP Sgt. Kris Clark said.

U.S. Border Patrol Spokane Sector
U.S. Border Patrol Spokane Sector

The driver of a dark-coloured Range Rover seen leaving the area where the drugs were found was also arrested by Idaho state police in connection with narcotics smuggling. The vehicle was seized by the CBP.

"Border patrol agents are committed to preventing dangerous drugs and associated crime from destroying families and communities on both sides of the border," said acting chief patrol agent David BeMiller.

The investigation by the RCMP border integrity team and CBP are continuing.