Stuart Island, Wash. — Marine Interdiction Agents from US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Air and Marine Operations Bellingham Marine Branch seized nearly 1,500 pounds of methamphetamine Wednesday, May 25th, southwest of Stuart Island in San Juan County.
According to a CBP press release, the seizure occurred when Marine Interdiction Agents, working with CBP Office of Field Operations crewmembers, performed an outbound inspection of a vessel in US waters approximately a half-mile from the border between the US and Canada (approximately 34 miles west of Bellingham). Upon boarding the vessel, Marine Interdiction Agents discovered 28 duffel bags containing cellophane wrapped cylindrical packages. The contents of the packages were later tested, and it was determined they contained methamphetamine.
Agents arrested a Canadian citizen piloting the 18-foot Bayliner boat, later identified as Ted Karl Faupel, age 51, and seized the methamphetamine, the vessel and a Glock 9mm handgun. He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on May 25th before being transferred into federal custody the next day.
According to the complaint filed in US District Court on May 26th, the boat stopped was an 18-foot recreational Bayliner Capri with a Canadian registration that was heading westbound. The reason for the stop was to perform a document check and to determine if the pilot intended to enter Canadian waters. The Bayliner reportedly did a slow turn and came to a stop when the CBP vessel’s lights and siren were activated.
CBP Field Operations officers boarded the Bayliner, noting it was riding low in the water and contacted the sole occupant, Faupel, who said he was moving the boat for a friend and heading back to Canada. He said he did not know what was in the duffel bags.
A backpack found onboard contained the handgun along with ammunition.
According to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office, Faupel agreed to pull back the cabin cover and the officers noted a number of duffle bags that were secured with small luggage padlocks. Acting on border search authority, officers made a small cut in one bag and observed shrink wrap packaging of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine.
During an interview with a Homeland Security Investigations special agent, Faupel said he had been hiking near a Vancouver Island marina in Sidney, BC, when he was approached by a man who hired him to drive the boat from Sidney to Anacortes and back for $1,000. He said he was met by 4 men upon landing in Anacortes and taken to a hotel where he stayed the night by himself. He was met the next morning by 3 men in a truck towing the Bayliner on a trailer. They launched the boat from an Anacortes boat launch, and he left to return to the Sidney marina. He was later intercepted by CBP as he approached the US-Canada Border.
Faupel has been charged with the crime of possession of controlled substances (meth) with intent to distribute. Due to the amount of drugs involved, Faupel faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in coordination with US Customs and Border Protection.