They say the best way to hide is in plain sight. This may have been Jasmin Klair's line of thinking. After all, no actual drug runner would ride in a car with a vanity plate that read "SMUGLER," would she? And even if she did, she wouldn't actually conduct her business at a place called "Smuggler's Inn," right?
According to the official complaint of Special Agent Joshua Barret, Homeland Security Investigations received an anonymous tip that "possible smuggling activity" would be taking place in the vicinity of Smuggler's Inn Bed and Breakfast in Blaine, Wash. Apparently not regarding the tip as a bad joke, agents set up surveillance in the area. At around 8 p.m. that night, agents watched a black GMC Yukon pull up to the inn, which is located less than 100 feet from the U.S.-Canadian border. According to Seattle PI, the SUV's license plate read "S-M-U-G-L-E-R."
The SUV was driven by the inn's owner and was carrying two passengers, according to MSNBC. Agents pulled the vehicle over and found nine bricks of cocaine inside, weighing in at just under 24 pounds. Passenger Jasmine Klair, 20, admitted that the drugs were hers.
The Calgary Herald reported that the second passenger, a guest at the inn, was uninvolved.
According to the Herald, Klair agreed to cooperate with the officials. She described meeting with two men, saying that the men had given her $600 cash and told her she would ultimately be paid $4,000 dollars for the job. On Dec. 15, Klair picked up the large white box containing the cocaine. Then, Klair told the agents, the men dropped her off at a Pizza Hut, and told her to call the Smuggler's Inn for a ride.
While Klair was under arrest, she began receiving text messages and phone calls from one of the men, the Vancouver Sun reported. At about 11:40 p.m., she received a phone call stating that someone was coming to pick up the cocaine. At 11:45, a Volkswagen Jetta pulled into the Smuggler's Inn parking lot. Two men, later identified as Gurjit Singh Sandhu, 24, and Narinder Kaler, 25, got out of the vehicle and began sprinting toward the inn. When police ordered them to stop, Sandhu and Kaler tried to run back over the Canadian border, but were caught before they were able to do so.
The Sun reported that Klair, Kaler and Sandhu are all residents of British Columbia.
According to the Seattle PI, Klair pleaded guilty in February to possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and she will remain in jail until her sentencing on May 29. Kaler and Sandhu, who both pleaded not guilty to similar charges, remain jailed pending trial.
The driver of the SUV and owner of the Smuggler's Inn, Bob Boule, apparently was uninvolved in the drug deal. Boule told the Bellingham Herald that almost 60 people each year are arrested in the inn's yard. The name of the Inn is meant to be charming, he told the paper, but "we're not encouraging smuggling."
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