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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sirens & Gavels

Sensing device led to big Ecstasy bust

Two cousins arrested with 159 pounds of Ecstasy near the United States-Canadian border were caught after a remote sensing device alerted authorities to their location.

Christopher Sidney Stocken, 31, and Joshua John Bird, 23, had five backpacks filled with Ecstasy pills June 10 when a border patrol agent used a night vision device to spot them emerging from brush near Stecker Road and U.S. Highway 395

A grand jury indicted the men Tuesday for conspiracy to import Ecstasy, importation of Ecstasy and possession with intent to deliver Ecstasy. Each charge carries a maximum 20 years in prison and three years probation.
The men are being held without bail at the Spokane County Jail.

According toa  newly unsealed affidavit, the suspects told border patrol agents they were at a party in Kelowna, B.C., when two unidentified individuals forced them to take the bags to the border "because they owed someone money for being at the party and if they did not do this they would be killed." Stocken and Bird said they were to drop the bags off at a predetermined location in the U.S. and return to Canada.

The men stuck with the blackmail story until Stocken told investigators the next day that they were neither coerced nor forced into smuggling the Ecstasy, rather they had agreed to transport the backpacks "to make quick easy money," according to the affidavit.

Stocken said he had asked Bird to help.

"Stocken indicated he wanted to help out his cousin as he felt responsible for them getting caught," according to the affidavit.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.