Harbour Air founder faces pot charges

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A floatplane instructor who helped found Harbour Air is one of two men
charged with trying to export marijuana after RCMP searched a Duncan home
and the Duncan airport.

Keith Norman Fraser, 62, and James Peter McDonald, 49, both of Duncan, are
charged with possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and
possession of marijuana for the purpose of exporting.

Fraser runs a float plane school in Duncan as well as an air taxi-seaplane
charter service. His Web site notes he was one of the founders of Harbour
Air, a popular provider of commuter service between Vancouver Island and the
mainland.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP made the arrests Friday following a month-long
investigation. The Vancouver Island District RCMP Border Integrity Unit and
U.S. Customs Authority also were involved.

Authorities seized about 73 kilograms of marijuana at the airport as well as
two vehicles and an aircraft.

Fraser is profiled as operating Keith's Floatplane School in Duncan on the
floatplaneschool.com Web site. Attempts to reach Fraser and the flight
school Monday were unsuccessful.

The Web site's profile of Fraser says he entered the world of seaplanes in
the late 1960s when various aircraft were acquired and operated throughout
B.C. to support a construction company. The company specialized in projects
located "off the beaten path," says the Web site.

Fraser and two other individuals pooled resources and started Harbour Air,
which grew into a large and successful seaplane company. Fraser later left
the company to pursue his real passion, bush flying -- which is typically
flights into remote areas.

"Over the past three and a half decades Keith has documented over 19,000
hours of flying time predominantly on floats," the Web site says.

His school offers various levels of flight instruction. As Victoria Air
Taxi, the company offers scheduled flights from the Island to the mainland
as well as tour packages.

The RCMP say their investigation is continuing.


Pubdate: Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Contact: letters@times-colonist.com
Website: http://www.canada.com/victoria/timescolonist/
Author: Bill Cleverley