By Scott North / Herald Writer
SEATTLE – A bankrupt Oregon businessman pleaded innocent Thursday to trying to smuggle hundreds of pounds of cocaine along U.S. 2 in Snohomish County.
Douglas Bryan Spink, 33, entered the plea during a brief hearing in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Federal Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler scheduled Spink’s trial for May 16.
Spink is charged with possessing 372 pounds of cocaine with intent to distribute. Investigators say the drugs, which were seized during a traffic stop in Monroe Feb. 28, had an estimated street value of $34 million.
The cocaine haul is believed to be the largest in county history, and may also be a state record, officials said.
Spink remains jailed in the federal detention center in SeaTac. The judge on Tuesday approved an order continuing his detention, pending new information.
The defendant was living in Canada at the time of his arrest and has provided addresses of residence both there and in the United States that officials don’t believe are accurate, according to the court order.
Spink also “is associated” with several British Columbia driver’s licenses that list different dates of birth. He turns 34 on Thursday, according to records.
Spink poses a potential flight risk in part because he “is currently involved in bankruptcy proceedings in which allegations of fraud have been lodged, and is a judgment debtor for several million dollars in other proceedings,” according to the detention order.
In the late 1990s, Spink made headlines in Portland, Ore., where he was known as a self-made millionaire who specialized in high-risk business ventures and extreme sports, especially parachuting from cliffs, bridges, tall buildings and radio towers.
The businesses collapsed in bankruptcy. In recent years, Spink has been living in Chilliwack, B.C., and breeding jumping horses.
He was arrested after he raised suspicions among federal immigration officials who trailed him from the border crossing at Sumas to Everett, where they watched him allegedly pick up five suitcases filled with cocaine. Federal border patrol agents in mid-January encountered Spink in the Loomis National Forest in central Washington about 10 miles from the Canadian border in an area frequented by drug smugglers, according to court papers.
When arrested in Monroe, Spink allegedly had surveillance equipment in the SUV he was driving, including a tracking camera and satellite radio, plus unspecified “smuggling tools” and cash.
He faces a minimum 10-year sentence if convicted as charged.
Reporter Scott North: 425-339-3431 or email@example.com.