A suspected drug smuggler accused of opening fire on U.S. Border Patrol agents near Sumas -- sparking a manhunt that lasted from morning to night -- has been arrested.
"We don't believe there's any continuing threat to the community," Sheriff Bill Elfo said.
U.S. agents had been monitoring two men wearing camouflage and carrying backpacks near Reese Hill and Heady roads at 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, April 2. Those packs contained 58.2 pounds of amphetamines, according to federal authorities.
As the agents approached, one man shot at them, said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Eric Dorais. The bullets missed. Agents caught the accomplice within moments. But the shooter, who had a handgun holstered on his hip, fled into the woods.
For hours, he eluded police dogs, border helicopters, a SWAT team and a swarm of agents on both sides of the border. The search lasted into Wednesday morning.
"With each hour that passed, we were dealing with a different scenario," said Abbotsford Police Constable Ian MacDonald.
At 4:20 a.m., Canadian police arrested the shooting suspect at a home in Abbotsford after getting a tip about where he might be. MacDonald doesn't believe the suspect lived there. The constable declined to release his name, age and the charges that could be leveled against him.
"We have the bad guy," MacDonald said. "Now we can slow things down."
In a prepared statement, the U.S. Border Patrol's Blaine Sector Chief John Bates said the arrest was "a perfect example of the bi-national law enforcement partnerships, dedication and support required on a daily basis in securing our nation's borders and local communities."
Canadian media reported an elementary school went into lockdown for about two hours during the search, while police went door to door to ensure residents were safe.
BORDER PATROL PRESS RELEASE
Abbotsford Police Department Arrests Wanted Subject -- U.S. Border Patrol Discontinues Search in Columbia Valley
Sumas, Wash. -- At approximately 4:20 a.m., Abbotsford Police Department in British Columbia, Canada apprehended an individual suspected of firing a weapon at U.S. Border Patrol agents in the area of Columbia Valley, Wash.
"I would like to thank our law enforcement partners both locally and in Canada who assisted during the search," said Blaine Sector Chief John Bates. "This incident is a perfect example of the bi-national law enforcement partnerships, dedication and support required on a daily basis in securing our nation's borders and local communities."
On April 2, 2013, at approximately 9:10 a.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Sumas Station encountered a pair of camouflaged subjects carrying backpacks in the Columbia Valley area, east of the town of Sumas. One of the subjects fired a weapon and fled into the woods. The other individual was apprehended. Two back packs were recovered at the scene that that contained 58.2 pounds of an amphetamine based product.
Border Patrol agents, along with other Federal, State, local and Canadian law enforcement personnel initiated a search for the second subject. The Abbotsford Police Department received information concerning the subject's location this morning, and apprehended the suspect at a residence located in Abbotsford, B.C. Canada.
ABBOTSFORD POLICE PRESS RELEASE
Incident: APD Arrest Subject Involved in Border Shooting Incident
Abbotsford -- April 3, 2013
This morning at 4:30 am the suspect involved in the April 2 shooting incident with US Border Patrol agents was arrested by members of the Abbotsford Police Department's Emergency Response Team and Patrol Division. The man was located in a residence in Abbotsford. He is an individual who is known to police and has been a resident of the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland in recent years.
The Abbotsford Police Department would like to thank the residents of Sumas Prairie for their patience and assistance throughout the investigation of this serious incident. We also would like to thank the RCMP, Air 1 Police Helicopter, US Border Patrol, Whatcom County Sheriff's Department, Washington State Patrol, Bellingham Police Department, Sumas Police Department, CBP Office of Air and Marine and Immigration Customs and Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations for the support they provided.
The successful resolution to this incident could not have occurred without excellent communication and coordination of law enforcement efforts on both sides of the border.
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