The RCMP are asking for some help. The yacht pictured, apparently named Cedar Spirit, was seized a few days ago north of Tofino with a sizeable-but-not-huge stash of cocaine aboard. The Mounties want to figure out where it was before the bust. Did anybody see her out there?
Police seized 30 kilograms of cocaine and a 20-metre yacht off the west coast of Vancouver Island earlier this month.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Duncan Pound said that two Vancouver Island men connected to the boat were arrested “on land” on Sept. 2 with the cocaine. They have now been released, pending charges being approved by federal prosecutors. Their names are not being released.
The drug investigation began after “reports of suspicious circumstances surrounding the MV Cedar Spirit off the Estevan Lighthouse,” Pound said.
The lighthouse is about 50 kilometres north of Tofino.
Investigators with the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime section are now trying to figure out the boat’s movements between Aug. 25 and Sept. 2 when police seized it.
“The RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in ascertaining the whereabouts of this vessel before its seizure,” Staff Sgt. Peter Lea said. “If you have seen this boat or if you have any information about any individuals associated to it, we encourage you to contact your local police.”
Transport Canada records indicate the Cedar Spirit was registered in Edmonton. And the online documents indicate the vessel’s registration was suspended on May 23, 2014. No reason is given for the suspension.
Drug smugglers have used the rugged coastlines of Vancouver Island for years.
In 2010, police found 1,000 kilos of cocaine hidden on a beach near Port Hardy that had been smuggled from Panama aboard a sailboat called the Huntress. Two men were convicted and sentenced to 16 years.
In 2006, police found $6.5-million worth of marijuana on board a 47-metre fishing vessel off Vancouver Island. Four men were charged, but the charges were all later stayed.
In 2001, a fishing boat called the Western Wind was seized with 2.5 tonnes of cocaine aboard off the coast of Vancouver Island. No one was ever charged.
Original Post in the Vancouver Sun:
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