Feds take over investigation after $7 million in drugs found

Sheriff’s Office says no local connection has been discovered

PORT ANGELES — Federal authorities have taken over the investigation into the early April discovery of 400 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine worth $7 million on a Joyce-area beach after no local-area connection with the drugs was established, according to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

“Based on the fact pattern at this time, we have no information of local involvement,” Chief Criminal Deputy Brain King said Thursday.

“It’s being investigated at the federal level with the FBI, HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] and the Border Patrol,” he said. “That certainly could change.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle is also involved, King said.

The packaged drugs were found by separate individuals in eight duffel bags April 7 and April 11 on two Clallam County beaches bordering the Strait of Juan de Fuca west of Port Angeles, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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 April 11 west of the first find on higher ground.

The discovery was made public by the Sheriff’s Office April 14 following unsuccessful surveillance to attempt to catch someone snatching the haul.

Undersheriff Ron Cameron speculated that the drugs had been dropped off for transfer to Canada.

“That’s why RCMP [the Royal Canadian Mounted Police] is involved,” he said April 15.

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

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

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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