An American judge has released two Chilliwack residents who were arrested at the Aldergrove border crossing on Sunday, Nov. 23 for allegedly trying to smuggle a "boxed drug lab" of methamphetamine chemicals into the U.S.
Calum James Buchanan, 40, and Lola Crystal McKay, 24, were ordered freed by a Whatcom County Superior Court judge in Bellingham on Monday, Nov. 24, who set bail at $50,000 for Buchanan while releasing McKay on her own recognizance.
The pair were arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered the chemicals in a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am.
The car arrived at the border around 7 p.m. with "two plastic wrapped large plastic storage containers" in the back seat as well as "two gas cans with duct taping, metal strainers bearing white residue and a white chemical bottle" according to an affidavit filed by a Whatcom County deputy prosecuting attorney.
"Inside the trunk of the vehicle were another plastic wrapped storage container made of plastic with what appeared to be a five gallon bucket."
A U.S. customs officer became nauseated and vomited after breathing fumes from the materials.
The crossing was shut down in both directions and the officer was rushed to Saint Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham.
A Haz-Mat (hazardous materials) team was called in to remove what appeared to be chemicals and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine.
The officer was "successfully treated," the Blaine U.S. Customs and Border Protection office said.
The border was re-opened after about an hour.
According to the affidavit, Buchanan told investigators he was going to be paid $500 "to deliver this lab to a third party in Canada" while McKay "denied any knowledge that there was a boxed drug lab in the vehicle."
Buchanan and McKay are scheduled to return to court in Bellingham on Dec. 5.
If convicted, they face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000 U.S.