Two lost Canadian citizens mistakenly tried to drive through the Lynden border crossing with a mobile meth lab in their car Sunday, Nov. 23, federal and local officials said.
Calum James Buchanan, 41, and Lola Crystal McKay, 24, have been charged with possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine in Whatcom County Superior Court after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers allegedly found chemicals and supplies commonly used to cook meth in their car.
A CBP officer began vomiting during a search of the 1994 Pontiac Grand Am when he opened a plastic bag inside a tote tub that contained unknown chemicals, according to charging documents filed in court. Inside one of the tubs, investigators found two gas cans and a metal strainer covered with white residue. A “cloudy grayish liquid” was found inside the other container in the back seat, and more chemicals were found in the trunk.
Andrew Munoz, spokesman for Homeland Security, said the chemicals will be tested on Wednesday, Nov. 26.
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Buchanan and McKay, from Chilliwack, B.C., had apparently become lost in road construction near the border crossing and did not intend to cross into the U.S, said Lynden Fire Chief Gary Baar.
“My understanding is they got turned around with the border construction,” Baar said. Lynden’s assistant fire chief, Robert Spinner, had interviewed Buchanan and McKay, he said.
Buchanan told investigators that he had planned to deliver the mobile meth lab to a third party in Canada and would have received $500 in return. McKay denied any knowledge of a boxed drug lab in the car, according to charging documents.
Traffic was diverted for two hours Sunday night while the contents of the car were searched, said CBP spokesman Tom Schreiber.
Buchanan and McKay were booked into the Whatcom County Jail around 1:30 a.m. Monday. McKay was released into federal custody later that day and has since been taken back to Canada, Munoz said. Buchanan was being held on a $50,000 bond Tuesday afternoon. The investigation is ongoing.