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Contraband
12/12/2008

Beachfront cocaine smuggling attempt thwarted in Whatcom County

SEATTLE - Two Canadians arrested overnight by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while attempting to load cocaine onto a jet ski at a Whatcom County beach made their initial appearance in federal court here this afternoon.

Dhymitruy Bouryiotis, 48, and Montgomery Read Hill, 36, were taken into custody on the beach at Birch Point, Wash., by members of the Border Enforcement and Security Task Force and the Integrated Border Enforcement Team. Around 1:30 a.m., agents observed suspicious activity at a beachfront property. Further surveillance revealed that someone, later identified as Bouryiotis, was moving heavy objects from a home to the shoreline.

About 2:30 a.m., a jet ski approached the beach at high speed. The operator of the personal watercraft, later determined to be Hill, met up with Bouryiotis on the beach.

A subsequent search of the beach revealed five bags filled with packages of a white-powdery substance that later tested positive for the presence of cocaine. The drugs, believed to be destined for Canada, weighed about 260 pounds.

"Smugglers take note again - ICE is committed to stopping those who seek to smuggle illegal drugs across our borders," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations. "As drug traffickers get more creative, we are working round-the-clock with our law enforcement partners to stop this activity."

"Today's interdiction of more than two-hundred pounds of cocaine by US and Canadian law enforcement agencies is a great example of both countries commitment to border security," said Rear Admiral John Currier, Thirteenth Coast Guard District Commander, in the Pacific Northwest. "I heartily commend all of the officers involved in this operation and their dedication to combating international drug trafficking."

"Here in the Pacific Northwest, the cooperation and collaboration between local, federal and Canadian law enforcement agencies is once again made stronger by successful joint operations,"
said John Bates, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol Blaine Sector.

In addition to ICE, other agencies involved in the interdiction included U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air & Marine Operations in Bellingham, the Blaine Sector of (CBP) Border Patrol, CBP Office of Field Operations, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the U.S. Coast Guard Bellingham Station, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Whatcom County Sheriff and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.