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B.C. van driver, 16, arrested in U.S.

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A 16-year-old boy from the Lower Mainland was arrested Wednesday by U.S.
border patrol agents when he drove into Washington state in a vehicle
alleged to contain nearly $1 million US worth of marijuana and ephedrine.

The boy is due to appear in a Seattle court today. Neither his name nor the
municipality in which he lives have been released.

Assistant chief patrol agent Joseph Giuliano said Thursday that agents in
Linden, Wash., were told of a possible drug smuggling attempt from Canada
into the U.S. that was supposed to take place Wednesday.

Images from a surveillance camera show a 2003 Chevrolet Venture van and a
2003 Ford Expedition crossing into the U.S. east of Sumas shortly after
daybreak Wednesday.

The boy was driving the van. When the vehicles were stopped in Bellingham, a
dog and agents found about 90 kilograms of marijuana worth about $800,000 US
and about 100 kilograms of ephedrine worth about $110,000 US in the van,
said Giuliano.

Ephedrine, widely used in cold medication, for weight loss, as an energy
booster and to enhance athletic performance, is a key ingredient in the
manufacture of methamphetamine, a highly addictive and illegal stimulant.
One kilogram of ephedrine produces about one kilogram of meth.

The driver of the Expedition, a 26-year-old native of India and a legal
resident in the U.S., was turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, Giuliano said.

A drug-sniffing dog picked up the scent of drugs in the Expedition but
investigators found no drugs.

The amount of ephedrine that was found could have been used to make "enough
meth to keep everyone in western Washington high for a month," Giuliano

"This is a two-way border," Giuliano said. "Marijuana goes south, cocaine
goes north, and guns and money go both ways," he said.

Pubdate: Friday, November 14, 2003
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Contact: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/
Author: Petti Fong