Pills put border on alert $1.5 million in ecstasy seized, headed south from Canada


A series of drug seizures at Peace Arch and Pacific Highway border crossings have resulted in charges against several individuals, including a Surrey man.
May 5, three men were arrested at Peace Arch crossing, after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found 22 kilos of ecstasy hidden under the back seat of a B.C.-plated, southbound vehicle.
USBP’s Willie Hicks said officers became suspicious after noticing signs of tampering with the vehicle’s rear seat. They removed the seat and found a compartment with three bags of multi-coloured pills – 75,000 pills in all estimated worth $1.5 million on the street.
Hicks said ecstasy smuggling is a huge issue, with the bulk of the drug flowing south from Canada. A March seizure at Pacific Highway crossing uncovered 210 kg of ecstasy (671,000 pills) – along with 375 kg of marijuana – in a commercial truck’s cargo.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is investigating the May 5 seizure.
B.C. residents Igor Kharitonov, 37, and Eboney Chipman, 23, face charges in connection with the incident, along with William Davis, 33, a U.S. citizen living in Vancouver.
Meantime, RCMP are investigation a connection between two recent cocaine seizures.
Feb. 7, Canada Border Services Agency officers found 67 kilos of cocaine inside two boxes in a moving van trying to cross into Canada at Pacific Highway. The van was part of a fleet owned and operated by a Langley moving company.
Matthew Mark Suelzle, 26, of Langley has been charged with importing a substance. Also charged is Suelzle’s brother William, 32, also of Langley, and Surrey’s Manmohan Singh Kalsi, 33.
Authorities believe the seizure may be connected to a smaller seizure Feb. 9, when U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officers found 33 kg of similarly packaged cocaine in a Bellingham warehouse.
That investigation, in concert with Bellingham DEA and Los Angeles DEA, is ongoing.
In other border drug smuggling news, a Mission man was sentenced to 14 years in jail in connection with a Jan. 11 incident at the Aldergrove port, when the driver of a northbound propane tanker failed to report to CBSA and U.S. Immigration and Customs.
A search found 127 kg of cocaine in the propane tank.
Kevin Epp pleaded guilty to two drug-related charges – importation and possession for the purpose of trafficking – April 25 in Surrey.