A 71-year-old horse trainer from Langley and his 70-year-old wife were
arrested Thursday in Portland, Ore., after police found more than 300
kilograms of B.C. marijuana in the back of their horse trailer.

In the largest drug bust in Portland in 15 years, police say they watched
Vernon Bigham and his wife Erna transfer several large duffel bags out of a
horse trailer -- which also had a horse in it -- to two others at the
Portland Meadows racetrack.

Police estimate the drugs are worth about $4 million.

Harold Barroby, a horse trainer at Hastings Park racetrack in Vancouver,
said Bigham has been training horses for decades at both Hastings Park and
Assiniboine Downs in Winnipeg.

"He's trained for quite a number of years," Barroby said. "He's a very nice
man. A very nice wife, too. It's a shocking thing. A real big surprise."

Interestingly, the last time Bigham was in the news also involved drugs --
though of a different sort.

In August 1997, Bigham was suspended as a trainer for 15 days after one of
his horses, Buffalo Boy, tested positive for Aspirin before a race.
(Aspirin can enhance a racehorse's performance.)

Along with the Bighams, Portland police also arrested David Lipohar, 28,
and Christopher Delange, 30, both also residents of B.C.

All four face charges of possession and conspiracy to distribute a
controlled substance.


Newshawk: Joe Adams
Pubdate: Sat, 16 Feb 2002
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002 The Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca
Website: http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/477
Author: Chad Skelton