Shooting suspect nabbed at border; 58 pounds of drugs found

SUMAS — A suspected drug smuggler accused of opening fire on U.S. Border Patrol agents near Sumas — sparking a manhunt that lasted from morning to night — has been arrested.

“We don’t believe there’s any continuing threat to the community,” Sheriff Bill Elfo said.

U.S. agents had been monitoring two men wearing camouflage and carrying backpacks near Reese Hill and Heady roads at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, April 2. Those packs contained 58.2 pounds of amphetamines, according to federal authorities.

As the agents approached, one man shot at them, said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eric Dorais. The bullets missed. Agents caught the accomplice within moments. But the shooter, who had a handgun holstered on his hip, fled into the woods.

For hours, he eluded police dogs, border helicopters, a SWAT team and a swarm of agents on both sides of the border. The search lasted into Wednesday morning.

“With each hour that passed, we were dealing with a different scenario,” said Abbotsford Police Constable Ian MacDonald.

At 4:20 a.m., Canadian police arrested the shooting suspect at a home in Abbotsford after getting a tip about where he might be. MacDonald doesn’t believe the suspect lived there. The constable declined to release his name, age and the charges that could be leveled against him.

“We have the bad guy,” MacDonald said. “Now we can slow things down.”

In a prepared statement, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Blaine Sector Chief John Bates said the arrest was “a perfect example of the bi-national law enforcement partnerships, dedication and support required on a daily basis in securing our nation’s borders and local communities.”

Canadian media reported an elementary school went into lockdown for about two hours during the search, while police went door to door to ensure residents were safe.