Four British Columbia residents pleaded guilty in Vancouver Provincial Court and were sentenced Wednesday (Oct. 28) for their roles in a steroid smuggling and distribution ring that spilled into Whatcom County. All told, more than $715,000 worth of drugs were seized during the investigation.
The Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called “Project Trajectory” in a news release Wednesday.
“The Canada Border Services Agency will not tolerate those who use our borders for illegal activity,” agency Pacific Region Enforcement and Intelligence Division Director Yvette-Monique Gray said in the release. “We are firmly committed to prosecuting such individuals and groups who deliberately put Canadians at risk.”
The investigation began in July 2015 and saw the Canadian agency’s Criminal Investigations Section work closely with U.S. Homeland Security investigators to monitor the four individuals suspected in the smuggling operation, according to the release.
The investigation identified 34 mailboxes across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and five mailboxes in Washington state that were used to receive drugs that were then sold illegally in B.C. and across Canada, the release states.
At least one of the mailboxes was located in Whatcom County in Sumas, Canada Border Services spokesperson Kristine Wu told The Bellingham Herald in an email.
Once the Canada Border Services knew about the mailboxes, it began intercepting shipments to them, the release states.
In August of 2016, the agency searched the group’s three residences and one bank safety deposit box, according to the release, and that led to the discovery of mailbox contracts; shipping documents; fraudulent identification; wire-transfer receipts; more than $40,000 cash; more than a dozen cellphones, tablets and laptops; and an estimated $150,000 worth of anabolic steroids.
During the investigation, the border agency also seized 121 postal and courier shipments of anabolic steroids and other import-controlled substances, the release states, and Canada Border Services intercepted two members of the group in possession of drugs in separate occasions at the Abbotsford-Huntingdon Port of Entry from Sumas.
- All four members of the group were charged on Feb. 28, 2019, and according to the release:
- Daniel Anderson Crowder pleaded guilty on June 30 to smuggling, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking and obtaining fraudulent identification and was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence, 100 hours of community service, a $25,000 fine and 18 months probation.
- Nicole Kathleen Crowder pleaded guilty on June 30 to smuggling and received a conditional discharge provided she completes a 15-month probation order and 80 hours of community service.
- Kevin Lee Britton pleaded guilty Oct. 23, 2019, to smuggling, trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking and received an 18-month conditional sentence, 40 hours of community service, a $25,000 fine, a year of probation and a mandatory firearms prohibition.
- Duane Barry Loewen pleaded guilty Sept. 12, 2019, to smuggling and was sentenced to 18 months probation and 50 hours of community service.
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