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

3 busted near border w/ 58 lbs of coke

Three suspected drug smugglers have been arrested near the U.S.-Canadian border in Pend Oreille County with 58 pounds of cocaine.

Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 26, and Jose Luis Alfredo Castro-Meji, 25, were booked into the Spokane County Jail early today after being arrested near Metaline Falls late Monday.

Border agents tracked down a third suspect, Jose Galicias, in the woods this afternoon, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

Gonzalez-Rodriguez and Castro-Meji appeared in U.S. District Court today and were ordered to remain in jail.

Officials valued the cocaine at $585,860.

As this story explains, cocaine is often smuggled through Eastern Washington in exchange for Ecstasy and marijuana from Canada.

In October 2010, border agents found 310 pounds of Ecstasy worth more than $9.3 million near Curlew. A month before, a Canadian man caught with 71 pounds of cocaine near the international border was sentenced to about four years in prison.

In June 2010, a Canadian man arrested in Washington with 80 pounds of cocaine was sentenced to five years in prison.

Then in June 2011, two Canadian men were arrested with 159 pounds of Ecstasy that authorities allege they were trying to smuggle into the United States. Those men are awaiting trial.

Also awaiting trial is an elderly man who lived near the Canadian border in Ferry County and is accused of being a major drug trafficker.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.