Border jumper tossed bags out of plane before arrest at Langley Airport

U.S. Customs and the RCMP worked to catch the suspect

A border hopper in a small aircraft was chased back into Canada by U.S. border patrol agents last Wednesday before being met by a host of police officers at the Langley Regional Airport.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Bellingham Air and Marine Branch detected an airplane entering American airspace on Nov. 20 and landing at the Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop, a tiny town of a few hundred people in Washington State, roughly southwest of Osoyoos.

According to U.S. Customs, when agents approached the pilot to question him, “he jumped into his airplane and flew away.”

Agents in planes and helicopters pursued the mysterious pilot north.

On the way, they saw him throw several bags out of the plane into the wilderness below.

U.S. Customs received permission to keep chasing the suspect across the 49th parallel and into Canada, where they followed the plane to the Langley airport.

The pilot was met on the ground by the RCMP Federal Border Enforcement Team, Emergency Response Team, RCMP Air Services (which flies helicopters out of Langley airport) and the local detachment.

He was arrested and his plane seized, as U.S. Customs helicopters hovered overhead.

“Due to the exceptional skills of our pilots and air interdiction agents, we were able to ensure that this man did not escape arrest,” said Jeremy Thompson, director of the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch.

“Additionally, our partnerships and coordination with Canadian law enforcement agencies played a crucial role in the arrest of this man.”

The Methow Valley Airport has a single runway and taxiway with no control tower, said G. Paul Wolf, who manages a host of small airports in Washington.

The airport is busiest in the summer when it is a staging point for smoke jumpers who fight fires, he said. It also has a self-serve fuel station.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A $50 million plan is proposed to prepare for rapid transit in Langley City

Described as a ‘bold move’ to to buy land, improve facilities, and make other improvements

VIDEO: Langley City Mayor’s gala raises thousands for LMH

First ‘Winter Wonderland’ event may not be the last, van den Broek said

SLIDESHOW: Ukrainian Club of Abbotsford hosts annual Malanka event

Yevshan Ukrainian Dancers perform at annual celebration in Aldergrove

Fort Gallery welcomes author and former CBC radio host Mark Forsythe for gold rush history talk

Forsythe’s book, The Trail of 1858, corresponds with current Fraser River exhibition Gol Nu Get Mote

Langley Literacy Network is looking for volunteers to help share the gift of reading and writing

Community one-on-one learning programs run at local libraries, one to two hours each week

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sex assaults linked, RCMP ask women not to walk alone in Coquitlam park

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read