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Canadian charged with smuggling cocaine

Individually wrapped bricks of cocaine found in Canadian's backpacks; Photo, US Border Patrol
A 39-year-old Canadian appeared in Spokane court last Thursday after being arrested near the Laurier / Cascade border crossing with 71 pounds of cocaine. Jonathan Darren Smith was charged after United States Customs and Border Patrol agents saw him frantically climbing a snow embankment at the edge of Highway 395.
 
The agents had been alerted that there was some smuggling activity in the area, explained James Frackelton, public information officer for the U.S. Border Patrol.
 
“Agents stopped to investigate what this guy was doing out here in the middle of the night,” said Frackelton. “They talked to him and subsequently placed him under arrest.”
 
The agents seized two backpacks containing a total of 30 individually wrapped and sealed packages of cocaine. The illicit drugs have an estimated street value of $650,000.00 (U.S.).
 
The suspect and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration which hoped to work with Smith as an informant, a goal ruined when the Spokane-based newspaper, the Spokesman Review, printed Smith’s name.
 
Spokane Sector Chief Gloria Chavez said, “This significant seizure and arrest demonstrates the commitment of our highly trained Border Patrol agents, who under extreme weather conditions, continue to target and disrupt criminal activity within our local communities.”

Smith had been previously arrested in B.C. in 2007 after attempting to enter Canada with $165,000 U.S. in undeclared funds. At that time Surrey courts sentenced Smith to house arrest and community service as well as fining him $10,000 and confiscating the undeclared money, according to an article published by the Province.