Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jun 2005
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 The Province
Author: Ian Austin
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)


Undercover Agents Lost $385,000 In Parking Lot Heist

A B.C. man is in a U.S. jail charged in connection with a bizarre case in 
which undercover customs agents were allegedly robbed of $380,000.

Jack Nichols, 50, who lives in the Greater Vancouver area, is the 45th 
person charged in Operation Money Grab, a United States customs 
investigation into a cross-border smuggling of huge sums of U.S. dollars 
into Canada to buy B.C. marijuana.

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, customs 
investigators contacted a "Master Jack" -- later identified as Nichols -- 
to drop off $380,000 in the Best Buy parking lot in Tukwila, Wash.,a 
Seattle suburb.

The March 30, 2004, cash drop-off didn't go smoothly.

"At that time, a Suburban vehicle stopped abruptly behind the undercover 
vehicle," reads the written account. "The door to the Suburban was opened, 
and the agents saw an Asian male with what appeared to be an MP-5 type 

The sight of the assault rifle spooked the two agents, who fled and left 
behind the cash -- $380,000 US in a green sports bag, as agreed upon.

"When they returned, the green sports bag was no longer in their vehicle; 
it appears to have been taken by the occupants of the Suburban."

The documents show that an undercover agent met with Nichols at Burnaby 
Mountain Golf Club just three days after the robbery.

Officials were trying to confirm that Nichols was the same man as the 
"Master Jack" who was contacted in making the cash drop-off.

Nichols was apprehended June 3, 2005, as he tried to enter the U.S. at the 
Pacific Highway truck crossing, and is in custody pending a detention hearing.

Nichols is charged with conspiracy to engage in bulk cash smuggling.

If convicted he faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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