US interferes with Canadian international commerce

Feds Shut Down Drug-Smuggling Tunnel
July 21, 2005 9:57 PM EDT

LYNDEN, Wash. - Federal agents have shut down an elaborate, 360-foot drug-smuggling tunnel dug underneath the U.S.-Canadian border - the first such passageway discovered along the nation's northern edge, officials said Thursday.

Five people were arrested on marijuana trafficking charges, U.S. Attorney John McKay said in this border town about 90 miles north of Seattle.

The tunnel ran from a quonset hut on the Canadian side and ended under the living room of a home on the U.S. side, 300 feet from the border. Built with lumber, concrete and metal reinforcing bars, it was equipped with lights and ventilation, and ran underneath a highway.

The passageway was 3 1/2 to 4 feet high and wide, and ran anywhere from 3 to 10 feet below ground, authorities said.

"They were smart enough to build a sophisticated tunnel. They weren't smart enough to not get caught," McKay said.

U.S. officials were trying to locate the owner of the house on the American side.

Authorities had been monitoring construction of the tunnel for six months and had allowed its operators to make at least a few trips - all under surveillance - before sealing the passage Wednesday, McKay said.

Although numerous smuggling tunnels have been found on the U.S.-Mexican border, this was the first discovered along the border with Canada, he said.

Canadian authorities learned of the tunnel in February and alerted U.S. officials.

Pat Fogarty, a law enforcement official in British Columbia, said Canadian border guards "saw dirt going out and construction materials going in. They thought it was something we should check out."

U.S. officials began monitoring the tunnel. On July 2, agents entered the home on the American side to examine the passageway. They later installed cameras and listening devices in the home.

"We were in there before it was completed. There was not a day they did anything that we weren't assessing them," Gassett said.

Francis Devandra Raj, 30; Timothy Woo, 34; and Jonathan Valenzuela, 27, of Surrey, British Columbia, were arrested Wednesday. They were charged with conspiracy to import and distribute marijuana.

The three appeared in court Thursday to hear the charges against them but did not enter pleas.

Raj owns the property under the quonset hut. Woo was a fugitive in a 1999 marijuana case in Seattle, authorities said.

On July 16, two other people were arrested separately in Washington state for transporting marijuana that had come through the tunnel, said Greg Gassett, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

One was a woman who authorities said had 93 pounds of marijuana in her vehicle when she was stopped. The other was a man pulled over with 110 pounds of the drug.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This couldn't be retaliation for Canadian customs seizing American gay porn at the border a couple of years back...could it? :D
It's possible, TankiesYank, but I can't see Canada Customs being worried about that, unless there was money owing :lol:
I saw where these guys are 'not' Hells Angles...

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.
Just because they weren't wearing patches on the back doesn't mean they weren't Hells Angels Insp fogarty.

However, if they weren't they and their accomplices will now also have the Hells Angels to contend with. Competition is not acceptable!

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