Border jumper tossed bags out of plane before arrest at B.C. airport

Border jumper tossed bags out of plane before arrest at B.C. airport

U.S. Customs and the RCMP worked to catch the suspect

A border hopper in a small aircraft was chased back into Canada by U.S. border patrol agents before being met by Langley RCMP and the ERT at the Langley Regional Airport last Wednesday.

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Bellingham Air and Marine Branch detected an airplane entering American airspace and landing at the Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop, a tiny town of a few hundred people in Washington State, roughly southwest of Osoyoos.

According to U.S. Customs, when agents approached the pilot to question him, “he jumped into his airplane and flew away.”

Agents in airplanes and helicopters pursued the mysterious pilot all the way back to the Canadian border.

On the way, they observed the pilot throw several bags out of the airplane and into the wilderness below.

U.S. Customs received permission to keep chasing the suspect across the 49th parallel and into Canada, where they followed the plane to the Langley Regional Airport.

The pilot was met on the ground by the RCMP Federal Border Enforcement Team, the Emergency Response Team, RCMP Air Services (which flies helicopters out of Langley Airport) and the Langley RCMP.

The man was arrested and his plane seized.

U.S. Customs helicopters remained in the sky during the arrest.

“Due to the exceptional skills of our pilots and air interdiction agents, we were able to ensure that this man did not escape arrest,” said Jeremy Thompson, director of the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch. “Additionally, our partnerships and coordination with Canadian law enforcement agencies played a crucial role in the arrest of this man.”

The Methow Valley Airport is a single runway and taxiway with no control tower.

“It’s an unmanned and uncontrolled airport,” said manager G. Paul Wolf, who manages a host of small airports in Washington.

The airport sees its biggest use in the summer, when it is a staging point for smoke jumpers fighting fires in the state, said Wolf.

There is a self-serve aviation fuel station at the airport.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

border agencycrimedrug smugglingirregular border crosserLangley RCMPRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

It costs as little as $7 to charge an EV at home. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Electric Vehicles a rare sight (in the Kootenays), but change on the way

Electric pickups will increase the appeal of zero-emission vehicles in years to come according to Blair Qualey of the New Car Dealers Association

Linda Krawczyk and her dad Doug Finney enjoyed a ride around beautiful Fernie on Friday thanks to Melanie Wrigglesworth and the local chapter of Cycling Without Age. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Cycling Without Age goes for its first spin

Doug Finney (86) got to enjoy a ride around Fernie

The Cranbrook Community Forest is good to go for mountain biking. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Snow’s done, time to hit the trails

South Country trails are good to go

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Most Read