Border jumper tossed bags out of plane before arrest at B.C. 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 before being met by Langley RCMP and the ERT at the Langley Regional Airport last Wednesday.

On Nov. 20, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Bellingham Air and Marine Branch detected an airplane entering American airspace 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 airplanes and helicopters pursued the mysterious pilot all the way back to the Canadian border.

On the way, they observed the pilot throw several bags out of the airplane and 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 Regional Airport.

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

The man was arrested and his plane seized.

U.S. Customs helicopters remained in the sky during the arrest.

“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 is a single runway and taxiway with no control tower.

“It’s an unmanned and uncontrolled airport,” said manager G. Paul Wolf, who manages a host of small airports in Washington.

The airport sees its biggest use in the summer, when it is a staging point for smoke jumpers fighting fires in the state, said Wolf.

There is a self-serve aviation fuel station at the airport.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Remembering Revelstoke Ski Club’s long history

The club continues today with more than 130 skiers

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 16

First diesel train, bitterly cold weather and testing a magnetometer

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Scared by my latest hydro bill

Luckily I have set up an equal payment plan with BC Hydro… Continue reading

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Kelowna’s Tess Critchlow gears up for World Cup at Big White

Critchlow is a professional snowboarder competing for Team Canada in the boardercross competition

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read