Border jumper tossed bags out of plane before arrest at Langley Airport

U.S. Customs and the RCMP worked to catch the suspect

A border hopper in a small aircraft was chased back into Canada by U.S. border patrol agents last Wednesday before being met by a host of police officers at the Langley Regional Airport.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Bellingham Air and Marine Branch detected an airplane entering American airspace on Nov. 20 and landing at the Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop, a tiny town of a few hundred people in Washington State, roughly southwest of Osoyoos.

According to U.S. Customs, when agents approached the pilot to question him, “he jumped into his airplane and flew away.”

Agents in planes and helicopters pursued the mysterious pilot north.

On the way, they saw him throw several bags out of the plane into the wilderness below.

U.S. Customs received permission to keep chasing the suspect across the 49th parallel and into Canada, where they followed the plane to the Langley airport.

The pilot was met on the ground by the RCMP Federal Border Enforcement Team, Emergency Response Team, RCMP Air Services (which flies helicopters out of Langley airport) and the local detachment.

He was arrested and his plane seized, as U.S. Customs helicopters hovered overhead.

“Due to the exceptional skills of our pilots and air interdiction agents, we were able to ensure that this man did not escape arrest,” said Jeremy Thompson, director of the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch.

“Additionally, our partnerships and coordination with Canadian law enforcement agencies played a crucial role in the arrest of this man.”

The Methow Valley Airport has a single runway and taxiway with no control tower, said G. Paul Wolf, who manages a host of small airports in Washington.

The airport is busiest in the summer when it is a staging point for smoke jumpers who fight fires, he said. It also has a self-serve fuel station.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

border agencycrimedrug smugglingirregular border crosserLangley RCMPRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity assures support for those suffering from domestic abuse

VictimLinkBC can be contacted at 1-800-563-0808 or by email at VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca

Aldergrove Kodiaks veteran players new recruits of collegiate teams

Kodiaks C.J. Corazzin, Ty Pickering, and Tyler Cannon will move onto college, Junior A hockey

VIDEO: Painting hearts to raise spirits in Langley City

‘Community Strong’ initiative by Downtown Langley Business Association

LAPS annual Furry Tails race goes virtual this April

Fundraising for lost and abandoned animals at Aldergrove shelter can be done from home

PHOTOS: Aldergrove portrait series captures families ‘new normal’ of isolation at home

Photographer and essential worker, Shaylin Thulin, is celebrating her community during a pandemic

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read