An alleged drug-trafficking scheme involving open-water exchanges of dozens of kilograms of illegal narcotics has been halted, resulting in the arrest of a Saanich man on eleven charges.
William Milton Barnes is alleged to have imported and trafficked cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and heroin from the United States in a scheme that involved transactions by boat between British Columbia and Washington State.
“Operation Shiprider” A Seeming Success
His arrest is the result of a cross-border investigation conducted by the RCMP, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard and Victoria City Police as part of “Operation Shiprider”.
Canada-U.S. Shiprider, officially known as Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations (ICMLEO), involved vessels jointly crewed by specially trained and designated Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the international boundary line.
Working together, armed Canadian and U.S. law enforcement officers are able to transit back and forth across the border to help secure it from threats to national security, as well as prevent cross-border smuggling and trafficking.
“The teamwork exhibited by Shiprider’s U.S. and Canadian law enforcement partners ensures that our borders don’t serve as conduits for smuggling and trafficking activities,”said HSI Seattle Special Agent in Charge, Brad Bench.
Seizures Include Two High Speed Vessels
In total, over 55 kilograms of cocaine, over 47 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and over one kilogram of heroin, fifteen firearms including five handguns, a prohibited large capacity magazine and over $150,000 in cash and two high-speed vessels were seized.
Barnes has officially been charged with:
1. Importation cocaine;
2. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking cocaine;
3. Importation of crystal meth;
4. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking crystal meth;
5. Importation of heroin;
6. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking heroin
7. Possession of a handgun with readily accessible ammunition;
8-9. 2 counts of possession of a prohibited device (large capacity magazines);
10. Possession of proceeds for backpack of $150,000
11. Smuggling under section 159 of the Customs Act.