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Saanich man charged in cross-border drug bust

Last Updated Apr 25, 2018 at 12:01 pm PDT

BC RCMP display stacks of drugs, firearms and cash seized during a cross-border drug bust. Hana Mae Nassar ‏(NEWS 113)

William Barnes, 51, charged with possession and trafficking over accusations he moved drugs between the US and Canada

Police seized cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and heroin from a boat

Gary Horton of Washington state has pleaded guilty to trafficking-related charges

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A man from Saanich has been charged with smuggling and possession and an American man has pleaded guilty to similar offences following what RCMP and US border agents are calling a major cross-border drug bust.

William Barnes, 51, is charged with 11 counts of possession, trafficking, firearms and smuggling for accusations he brought more than 100 kilograms of drugs between the United States and Canada. Barnes was arrested on Feb. 23, 2017, but BC RCMP say the information is only now being released because charges have been approved.

RCMP Chief Supt. Keith Finn says a six-month, cross-border investigation with authorities in the United States found two vessels meeting on multiple occasions just south of San Juan Island, between Vancouver Island and Washington state.

Finn says police seized 55 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and more than a kilogram of heroin in February 2017 after one of the vessels docked in Canada.

Two high speed vessels, firearms and $150,000 in cash were also seized.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials say Gary Horton of Washington state has pleaded guilty to trafficking-related charges in this case and will be sentenced in September.