Four more people have been indicted in federal court for allegedly having involvement in a drug smuggling ring that was busted in Whatcom County in 2008.
Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday, Feb. 16, for Justin Harris, Dustin Meehan, Ronald Lochbaum and Gordon Dahms after a grand jury indicted them in U.S. District Court in Seattle on one count of conspiring to import marijuana and on another count of conspiring to distribute marijuana.
The four men allegedly helped smuggle more than 7,100 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. from Canada between 2005 and 2008, according to the indictment.
The smuggling ring, which was based in British Columbia, was able to bring in thousands of pounds of marijuana and cocaine to the United States through the U.S.-Canadian border, according to federal court records.
It was busted in June 2008 when federal agents arrested its ring leaders, Robert Shannon and Devron Quast, at the Bob's Burger and Brew restaurant in Ferndale.
More than 40 people have been charged for their involvement in the ring, according to court records. Seven people pleaded guilty in federal court last November for having low-level ties to it.
Shannon and Quast also have pleaded guilty; Shannon is serving a 20-year prison sentence while Quast is serving a six-year sentence.According to the indictment:
Harris, Meehan and Lochbaum were responsible for finding clients that had marijuana to be smuggled and then connecting them with the ring.
The clients are described in the indictment as independent marijuana dispensaries operating in Canada that paid fees to have the ring smuggle, transport and deliver the drugs in the U.S.
The ring smuggled marijuana in a variety of fashions: hiding it in truckloads of bark, hollowed out logs and PVC pipes, or concealing it in hidden compartments of refrigerated semi-trailers and RV campers.
A majority of the shipments entered the U.S. through border crossings in Whatcom County.
Harris also came up with a way to conceal the marijuana in compartments to avoid detection. Dahms would modify the vehicles to install the compartments and also would load the marijuana into them.
Prosecutors allege that the men, working with others, were responsible for 10 shipments of marijuana, totaling more than 7,100 pounds, that were seized by law enforcement in Whatcom County, Montana, North Dakota and Oregon.