Pubdate: Thu, 18 Mar 2010
Source: North Island Gazette (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Black Press
Author: Teresa Bird
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our editors 
may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who have not been 
convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise public figures or 


PORT HARDY - Police revealed Monday that the sailboat detained in Port
Hardy last week was carrying 1,001 kg of cocaine.

In a press conference in Vancouver Mar. 15, police said two men,
39-year-old [name redacted] of Victoria and 38-year-old [name redacted} of 
Mexico have been charged with possession for the purpose
of trafficking in one of the largest drug busts in B.C. history.

The 40-foot sailboat arrived in Port Hardy from Panama Mar. 6, and was
greeted by Port Hardy RCMP and the North Island Emergency Response
Team and Police Dog Service, said RCMP. The RCMP Federal Drug
Enforcement Branch arrived later to take over the investigation.

Police were alerted to the vessel by the Canadian Armed Forces, who
hailed the vessel during a routine air patrol near Cape Scott, said
Superintendent Brian Cantera of the Federal Drug Enforcement Branch.

"The vessel provided the name, the MV Huntress, however the vessel
name and registration attributed the name to a fishing vessel, and not
a motor sailer," said Cantera. The air crew passed the information to
the Joint Forces Operation Centre in Esquimalt.

"Several cues alerted the military personnel on watch to suspicious
behaviour and it was further observed to be met by a black zodiac boat
offshore," continued Cantera.

RCMP were then alerted.

The Huntress headed into Port Hardy of its own accord, unaware of the
police reception awaiting it.

When the boat docked, Port Hardy RCMP arrested the two men and
searched the vessel.

Port Hardy RCMP then chartered the Naiad Explorer from Mackay's Whale
Watching in Port McNeill to take police to the site where the zodiac
had been observed near Shushartie Bay.

"Upon searching the immediate area where the zodiac offload had taken
place, 37 duffle bags containing 1,001 kilograms of cocaine were
seized," said Cantera.

Solicitor General Kash Heed added the street value of the cocaine
would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

"There is no question that interrupting drug smuggling of this
quantity has national and international impact on the illegal drug
trade," said Heed.

The Huntress remained in Port Hardy under guard at press time Tuesday. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D