Local teens in border drug busts

Published on Thu, May 16, 2002
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Local teens in border drug busts

At least half a dozen Blaine kids landed in jail last week for allegedly trying to smuggle B.C. marijuana across the border.

Richard Akers Jr., 18, Zachary Waters, 19; Nicholas Rinnert, 18 and two juveniles who are students at Blaine high school were arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling and conspiracy at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, according to Blaine police. Deputy police chief Mike Haslip said two bags containing 40 pounds of marijuana were seized along with two vehicles. The marijuana has an estimated street value of close to $98,000.
Three of the teens were recruited to watch while the other two retrieved bags dropped near a trail on the Canadian side and were supposed to put them in a vehicle, according to reports from the Whatcom County Sheriffs’ Office. They were being watched the whole time by members of the Pacific Area Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET) who arrested them as they left the area on D Street. The youths will be charged for drug smuggling and conspiracy in Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday.

“The lure of easy money continues to attract juveniles and we keep catching them,” said U.S. Customs Blaine Group Supervisor Peter Ostrovsky. “Last week, two 17-year-olds were caught with 52 pounds of BC bud in hockey bags on a similar smuggling trail in the City of Blaine.”
Customs supervisor Roy Hoffman confirmed there was another seizure Sunday but details are not yet being released.

IBET is made up of law enforcement officers from the U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Border Patrol, RCMP Customs & Excise Section, Blaine Police Department and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. All subjects are being prosecuted for violations of Washington State law in Whatcom County Superior Court.

With what seems to be a growing trend of local young drug smugglers, U.S. Customs is seeking additional information from anyone regarding juveniles in Blaine and Whatcom County thought to be involved in marijuana smuggling. Anyone with information should call 360-332-6725.
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