A high-profile Hells Angel was arrested with another man near Creston Friday and charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking and drug smuggling.
Jason Cyrus Arkinstall, of the Mission chapter of the notorious biker gang, will appear in a Cranbrook courtroom Tuesday, along with his co-accused — Lawrence Edward Dwyer.
The two men allegedly ran back into Canada after being spotted south of the border in Idaho with close to five duffel bags of cocaine and methamphetamine worth more than US$2 million.
The U.S. Border Patrol had been alerted to suspicious activity on a remote forest service road near the Canadian border.
“An agent responded to the area and located two individuals who were concealing themselves,” border patrol agency press officer Jason Givens said in a news release.
“As the agent approached the individuals, they fled into Canada. The agent located the duffel bags near the location where the individuals were hiding.”
The duffel bags were found to contain 38 kilograms of cocaine and 90 kilograms of methamphetamine.
The border agents gave Idaho State Police a description of a dark-coloured Range Rover “observed leaving the area of the smuggling event.”
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“Idaho State Police quickly located the suspect vehicle along Highway 95. The driver was taken into custody in connection with the narcotics smuggling and the vehicle was seized by Border Patrol,” Givens said.
Sgt. Kris Clark, of the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime branch, confirmed Monday that police on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border “have initiated respective investigations into a significant seizure of drugs.”
He said that RCMP Border Integrity Team investigators based in Osoyoos arrested Arkinstall and Dwyer with the assistance of the police dog services and RCMP officers from both the Creston and Cranbrook detachments.
“This investigation is in its infancy and no further details are available at this time,” he said.
Arkinstall and Dwyer, both 47, have each been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and two of importing/exporting a controlled substance.
Acting Chief U.S. Border Patrol Agent David BeMiller said that “cocaine and methamphetamine are ravaging our communities.”
“Border Patrol agents are committed to preventing dangerous drugs and associated crime from destroying families and communities on both sides of the border,” he said.
Arkinstall is well-known to police on this side of the border.
In 2013, the former Cranbrook resident was charged in Spain with Hells Angel Chad Wilson and two associates for attempting to smuggle half a tonne of cocaine into the country aboard a boat that sailed from Colombia. They were later convicted and returned to Canada.
Wilson was shot to death under the Golden Ears Bridge two years ago.
Arkinstall was acquitted in Calgary in 2011 of uttering threats against police. The judge in the case said Arkinstall was “physically abused” by officers during his arrest and that an anonymously recorded video contradicted the testimony of the cops.
Two officers were later charged. One was acquitted and the charges against the second were stayed.
But the case led to an inquiry over how the Calgary Police Service handled Arkinstall’s complaint of excessive force. That inquiry concluded in 2018 that while there was “no evidence of deliberate attempts” to derail the disciplinary process for the officers, the “CPS failed to diligently and conscientiously handle the Arkinstall matter.”
In B.C., Arkinstall also successfully challenged a law that allowed city electrical inspectors to search houses for illicit cannabis grow operations without warrants.
Surrey city inspectors and police first attempted to enter his house back in 2005, but Arkinstall refused to let them in. They tried again in 2006 and 2007 on the grounds that the high power consumption could mean pot was growing inside and put the neighbourhood at risk.
B.C. Hydro later cut off the family’s electricity, leading to a three-year court battle.