Three men

3 arrested in $800,000 coke bust south of Salmo

American border officials seized about 80 pounds of cocaine last week south of Salmo and arrested two Canadians and a Mexican national.

American border officials seized about 80 lbs. of cocaine last week south of Salmo and arrested two Canadians and a Mexican national accused of trying to smuggle it across the line.

The value of the drugs is estimated at over $800,000, US Customs and Border Protection said in a news release.

The seizure and arrests were the result of “effective tactical planning and active patrolling of remote border trails,” the statement said.

Agents encountered the suspects and drugs late Monday about 11 miles north of Metaline Falls, in the Salmo Mountain area.

One suspect hid and was tracked the next day in a snowstorm with help from the Office of Air and Marine’s Spokane Air Branch.

Agent Lee Fitzpatrick declined to release further information about the suspects, but the Spokesman Review identified them as Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 26, Jose Luis Alfredo Castro-Meji, 25, and Jose Galacias.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez and Castro-Meji appeared in US District Court Tuesday and were ordered to remain in jail, the newspaper said.

Galicias was the suspect tracked in the woods, it added, but it’s not clear which of the three men were Canadian.

The Spokesman Review also said the haul was 58 lbs., not 80 lbs.

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