SUMAS — Four people were in custody Wednesday after what officials described as a foiled drug smuggling run across Washington state’s border with Canada.
Court documents unsealed Wednesday say American Border Patrol agents encountered two camouflaged men trying to smuggle 58 pounds of MDMA, or ecstasy, into the U.S. east of Sumas on Tuesday.
One, identified as Jeffrey Laviolette, was captured. Agents say the other, identified as Nathan Hall, fired a gunshot at them and ran. Hall was later arrested in Abbotsford, B.C.
Investigators also arrested a Bellingham woman, Kali Henifin, who they say planned on picking up the pair at the border, and her boyfriend, Ryan Lambert, who told officers that he was going to be paid $11,000 to drive the drugs to San Francisco, according to a federal complaint.
Lambert and Henifin told agents they were monitoring a police-scanner cell phone application when they heard news of the shooting and left the area, the document said.
The three defendants in U.S. custody have been charged with conspiracy and possession of MDMA with intent to distribute. They made initial appearances Wednesday in federal court in Seattle and were ordered detained pending further hearings.
Border Patrol agents said they encountered the two men carrying backpacks at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday in the Columbia Valley area, about five miles east of the highway border crossing at Sumas. The area is a known drug smuggling corridor.
A manhunt ensued with local and national law enforcement agents searching both sides of the border on the ground and by helicopter.