U.S. authorities say they stopped a small boat carrying a large shipment of methamphetamine after they saw it riding low in the water near the Canadian border with Washington state.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said officers stopped the 18-foot (5.5-metre) Bayliner speedboat in the San Juan Islands on Wednesday as it was headed toward Canada.
They reported finding 1,432 pounds (650 kg) of meth on board, packed in 28 duffel bags secured with luggage padlocks.
The boat’s occupant, identified as Alberta resident Ted Karl Faupel, was arrested on a drug distribution count. He made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday; his attorney, federal public defender Vanessa Pai-Thompson, declined to comment.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Faupel told investigators that he had been hiking near a marina in Sidney, when a man—identified as “Mike” in the affidavit—approached him and offered him $1,000 to move a boat from Sidney to Anacortes, Washington, and back.
According to the complaint, he said he left Vancouver Island on Tuesday. He said four men met him at a Washington State Parks boat dock, took the boat on a trailer, and dropped him off at an inn. The next day, they brought him back to the dock and he left in the newly loaded boat to return to Canada.
When CBP officers conducted their investigation, they also found three cell phones, a loaded nine-millimetre gun, and ammunition.
In the affidavit, Faupel initially told officers that the weapon wasn’t his and that he had “found” it. He later admitted that the gun was his and that “he carried it for safety while hiking.”
Documents also show that Faupel did not check in with U.S. Authorities before entering the United States.
None of the allegations have been proven in court. If convicted, Faupel faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.