Authorities estimate nearly $7 million in illegal drugs found west of Port Angeles

Cocaine, methamphetamine suspected

JOYCE — More than 400 pounds of tightly wrapped bricks of methamphetamine and cocaine were likely waiting for pick-up and a quick boat trip to Canada when area residents found the drugs in eight duffel bags on two Clallam County beaches, Undersheriff Ron Cameron said Thursday.

The $7 million haul, reported to authorities by separate individuals April 7 and April 11, was made public by the Sheriff’s Office late Wednesday afternoon following an initial investigation that included surveilling the beaches for a short time for someone to retrieve the bags.

As the days went on, the difficulty establishing the identity of a suspect or suspects connected to the drugs “pushed us to go ahead and make it public,” Cameron said Thursday.

Cameron said the hope is that residents west of the Salt Creek-Joyce area near a little-used section of state Highway 112 near where the drugs were found — currently closed to through traffic due to construction — noticed something that would help investigators determine who left bags in the open for all to see.

Field tests confirmed that nearly 60 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.6 pounds of cocaine were found in one duffel bag close to the water line April 7 and 342 pounds of methamphetamine in seven bags were found Sunday several miles west of the first find on higher ground.

Public asked

“Perhaps someone saw a suspicious vehicle in the Joyce area along state Route 112 or unusual boat traffic in the Strait west of Salt Creek-Tongue Point around those dates,” according to a press release Cameron issued late Wednesday afternoon.

The case is being investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol, which also provided a K9 unit; the FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Border Patrol Air and Marine Unit; the Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Cameron speculated that the drugs were dropped off at the beach for transfer to Canada.

“That’s why RCMP is involved,” he said.

“Most drugs are heading north. The money goes south.

“I think there’s a high probability it was destined for Canada.”

Off a remote mountain road would be a more likely place for a drop point for local distribution for large quantities of drugs rather than a beach, he said.

“[Highway] 112 west of Salt Creek and particularly west of Joyce is so seldom traveled that now because it’s closed,” Cameron said.

“Not many people live in the area, but they will know what is suspicious.”

The same holds true for anyone on the water around the time the drugs were discovered.

“If someone’s hanging out there with no fishing rods around, that could be suspicious,” Cameron said.

“People notice those things, and kind of wonder what that guy is doing.

“We are just looking for any opportunity to build some leads.”

Go tot http://www.clallam.net/Sheriff/tip.html or call an unstaffed tip line at 360-417-2540 to leave information.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

More in Crime

Pair arrested in connection with burglary

Deputies call off pursuit with speeds over 100 mph

Attempted murder trial postponed to November

Luoma attorney seeks ‘diminished capacity defense’

Makah man sentenced to 16 months in prison after carjacking

An enrolled member of the Makah Tribe has been sentenced… Continue reading

Law enforcement officials bemoan laws they say hamper their work

Drug possession, pursuits specific areas of police concern

Delay for trial possible in Sequim attempted murder case

More discovery being gathered by police, State Patrol

A bright mural created by Cammry Lapka covers the boarded over the space where a burglar broke a window, entered the Esther Webster Gallery at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, and stole items from a traveling exhibit. Christine Loewe, executive director of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, says that despite the seeming senselessness of the crime, that it was also an opportunity to bring the community together. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
Fine Arts Center moving on with new exhibit after burglary

Organizers have renewed appreciation for local connection

Competency evaluation ordered for man accused of attempted murder of officer

Investigators also urge charge of first-degree murder

Man sent back to jail for 6½ years

Drugs, gun found following traffic stop

Washington police say drivers aren’t stopping for them

The Washington State Patrol says drivers are increasingly refusing to… Continue reading

Feds stop boat with 1,400 pounds of meth by US-Canada border

U.S. authorities say they stopped a small boat carrying a… Continue reading

Bret Allen Kenney, 34, appears in Clallam County Superior Court on May 24 via video to be formally charged with attempted second-degree murder, assault on a police officer, disarming a police officer and driving under the influence of drugs. His bail was revoked and his arraignment is set for June 3.
Judge denies bail for attempted murder of police officer

Person of interest in mother’s death

Couple pleads not guilty to thefts

Separate four-day trials set for July