Crime

Canadian who tried to smuggle cocaine by boat through Whatcom County gets 13 years

McClatchy

A Surrey, B.C. man who tried to smuggle cocaine from Whatcom County by boat has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, after fighting extradition for more than a decade.

He’s also linked to an attempted murder of a key witness in the case, court documents show.

Kevin Donald Kerfoot, 53, was the organizer of the smuggling ring busted in 2005 near Bellingham, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle. His co-conspirators were arrested as they tried to move 41 kilograms of cocaine – about 90 pounds – up Interstate 5 and onto a boat for shipment to Canada.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly said Kerfoot “was involved with a tremendous amount of drugs.”

The elaborate scheme also would have brought about 17 pounds of ecstasy from Canada for distribution in the U.S.

Authorities also linked Kerfoot with the attempted murder of Reg Purdom, a key witness against Kerfoot and a former associate who was critically wounded in a shooting in Kelowna last August, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

A U.S. sentencing memo said “it appears that Kerfoot decided to have (Purdom) killed in a last-ditch attempt to silence him before Kerfoot’s extradition could be completed,” the Sun reported

The alleged shooter, Tyrone Reynolds McGee, is facing seven charges, including attempted murder and possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm.

There is no direct evidence implicating Kerfoot, however, and he will not face charges in the shooting, according to the Vancouver Sun.

After numerous appeals and attempts to fight extradition, Kerfoot was finally brought to the U.S. in December 2016, and pleaded guilty in April.

The other members of the smuggling ring were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to 6 1 / 2 years. They have all been released after serving their sentences.

U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in a statement that Kerfoot couldn’t avoid justice despite his delay tactics in the case.

“This defendant tried to avoid facing the music by getting people to lie during his Canadian extradition proceedings,” Hayes said. “Perhaps he thought he could fight a war of attrition – but this office and our law enforcement partners are committed to holding leaders of drug trafficking organizations responsible for the poison they spread both here and in Canada.”

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