Crime

Man indicted in alleged drug trafficking conspiracy found crossing Canadian border

One of 30 people charged in two federal grand jury indictments alleging a conspiracy to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from Mexico to Canada was arrested trying to cross the Canadian border into Whatcom County.

Anthony Louis Lam, 34, was booked into Whatcom County Jail Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 17, on an FBI hold.

FBI spokesperson Tina Jagerson told The Bellingham Herald that Lam was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents for the FBI arrest warrants.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington office spokesperson Emily Langlie told The Herald that Lam was scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court Wednesday afternoon in Seattle.

Lam, who is also known as “Jonny” and “Mike,” was one of 14 people indicted by a grand jury in June in the U.S. District Court for The Central District of California, and Langlie said his case will be resolved in Los Angeles.

According to the indictment, Lam is accused of picking up cocaine from his co-conspirators in the United States and transporting it to Canada for further distribution.

On July 23, 2018, a coded text message from Vincent Yen Tek Chiu, who also was indicted, reportedly gave an agent working undercover a code name, a coded telephone number and a serial number of money from Lam, who was supposed to pick up cocaine from the undercover agent in Los Angeles for Chiu.

Court documents state that three days later Lam picked up approximately 33 kilograms of a substance he believed was cocaine from the undercover agent in Pomona, Calif. Law enforcement later seized the substance Lam believed to be cocaine in Los Angeles and arrested him.

According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, press release, 13 people were arrested and a total of 30 were charged in the federal indictments.

At least some of the narcotics were moved through or exchanged in Whatcom County, according to the indictments.

Law enforcement also seized approximately 944.7 pounds of cocaine, 19.8 pounds of heroin, 102.7 pounds of methamphetamine and 106.1 pounds of MDMA or ecstasy, according to the press release. Approximately $811,000 in Canadian currency also was seized.

According to the indictments and other court documents, the 30 defendants were members of international drug trafficking organizations that worked together and conspired to distribute, import and export the narcotics. The organization transported bulk quantities of the drugs internationally, the release stated.

Some defendants also conspired to transport narcotics to Australia from Southern California, according to the release.

Some of the drug-trafficking organizations included members of Canadian, Mexican, Serbian, Chinese and Sudanese organized crime groups, according to court documents, and defendants reportedly used modified cellular devices with military-grade encryption to communicate with each other.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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