Dozens of kilograms of cocaine, methamphetamine and more than a dozen firearms were seized after a join Canada-U.S. drug smuggling investigation. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

B.C. man charged with litany of drug charges in cross-border smuggling operation

William Milton Barnes of Saanich faces multiple charges

A six-month joint Canada-U.S. investigation has led to a slew of charges for two men after dozens of kilos of narcotics and weapons were seized.

Officials at a press conference in Surrey Wednesday said that William Barnes of Saanich, B.C., and Gary Horton of Washington State have been charged with a slew of drug trafficking and firearms-related charges.

READ: Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

Barnes, 51, is facing 11 charges including importing cocaine, possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine, possession of trafficking methamphetamine, possession for the purpose of trafficking heroin, two counts of possession of a prohibited large capacity magazines and possession of proceeds of a crime.

More than a dozen firearms were seized at William Barnes’ Saanich home. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Federal RCMP Chief Supt. Keith Finn, who is the force’s deputy criminal operations officer, said that the operation was carried out as part of the Pacific Shiprider program.

Barnes was arrested in February 2017 but Finn said that it took 14 months announce charges because of the “complex process” of laying charges in B.C.

He declined to answer if Barnes had been known to police prior to his arrest.

Dozens of kilos of methamphetamine were seized. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

Officials intercepted a shipment coming by boat from the U.S. into Canada near the U.S. St. Juan Islands off the south coast of Vancouver Island.

“Large bags were transferred from one vessel to the other. When the boat returned to Victoria, officers detained Mr. Barnes under the Customs Act and located bricks of what appeared to be illegal narcotics,” said Finn.

Police then searched Barnes’ Saanich home and seized more than 55 kilograms of cocaine, more than 47 kilograms of methamphetamine, more than one kilogram of heroin, 15 firearms, more than $150,000 in cash and a large-capacity magazine. They also seized two high-speed boats.

Finn said that the drugs were being tested for fentanyl and that it would “not be surprising” if the deadly drug was found during a trace analysis.

The two boats seized from William Barnes’ residence in Saanich, B.C. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

U.S. border security officials caught the U.S. vessel as it headed back towards Washington State following the drug deal.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) then interviewed Horton and seized 35 kilograms of cocaine and 37 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Horton has plead guilty to conspiring to export narcotics and is scheduled for sentencing in September, said Dan Behrends, acting sssistant special agent in charge for HSI Blaine.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Cowichan celebrates public art for Local Government Awareness Week

North Cowichan is showcasing a piece of public art in Crofton in… Continue reading

VIDEO: SAR reinforcements from up Island arrive Sunday to help search for Ben Kilmer

Family, RCMP ‘extremely happy’ with the search effort so far, search manager tells volunteers

Good Samaritan helps extinguish car fire in Ladysmith

A woman was behind the wheel of a Chevy Impala on a… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Winnipeg’s JP Hoe performs in Ladysmith

Six-time Western Canada Music Award nominee and Winnipeg native JP Hoe performed… Continue reading

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read