RCMP seize 30 kilos of cocaine, 20-metre boat

RCMP seized 30 kilograms of cocaine and a 20-metre boat in relation to a suspected drug smuggling operation on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Federal Mounties announced last week that two men had been arrested and cocaine had been seized after a boat rented from a Nootka Sound fishing lodge was believed to be involved in the operation.

Police now say that boat might have been used to transit drugs from the larger MV Cedar Spirit, which was anchored off the Estevan Lighthouse, about 50 kilometres north of Tofino. After the rented boat was reported missing, it was spotted on a trailer on a logging road in Nootka Sound. Federal drug investigators quickly became involved.

The two men were arrested, with the cocaine, on land on Sept. 2. The MV Cedar Spirit was towed to a storage facility.

“The main thrust of this was hard work on the part of Island district detachment members who did the initial leg work and were vital to the initial arrest,” said Staff Sgt. Duncan Pound, spokesman for the RCMP’s federal policing section. “They were able to piece together that it wasn’t a rescue operation we were dealing with, it was a drug operation.”

Pound could not disclose where the men were arrested. He said the two have been released pending charges. Their names will not be released until charges are laid.

Now investigators are trying to piece together the movements of the MV Cedar Spirit around the Island between Aug. 25 and Sept. 2.

“The maritime community is a small community, they might know that vessel,” Pound said.

According to Transport Canada’s marine registry, the boat was registered in Edmonton but its registration was suspended May 23, 2014.

Anyone with information about the boat or any individuals associated to it are asked to contact their local police or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

kderosa@timescolonist.com