Sirens & Gavels

Accused pot smugglers due in court Thursday

Two Canadian men are due in U.S District Court Thursday after being caught near the border this week with what federal agents described as eight duffel bags of marijuana.

William Richard Paterson, 50, and Jahrum David Oakes, 32, are in the Spokane County Jail. A bail hearing is set for tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. to decide if they should be granted bail or remain in custody pending charges of marijuana possession with intent to distribute.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Spokane drove to Ferry County on a tip that that drug smugglers were at property near a home at Fourth of July Creek Road in Danville, Wash., adjacent to the border, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Monday.

The homeowner, who was not arrested, let federal agents search his property, where they found Ronnie Mark Buhlinger standing near haystacks about 100 yards west of the home and 500 yards south of the border.

Buhlinger was questioned but released in Spokane “pending further investigation,” agents said.

Paterson and Oakes were arrested after DEA agents spotted them walking from the direction of the border each carrying two large duffel bags of marijuana, according the affidavit.

Four more duffel bags were found at a border fence about 500 yards from where the men were arrested, documents allege.

Agents said the eight bags together weighed about 235 pounds.

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