Seattle-based federal agents this month discovered about 80 pounds of marijuana hidden in a car bound for Alaska on a cargo ship, according to charges filed this week against an Anchorage mother and her son.
Agents arrested Julie Bourbeau and John-Wesley McIntyre on felony drug charges Tuesday, according to court records. A grand jury indicted Bourbeau, 55, and McIntyre, 33, on Friday for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute the drugs.
According to documents filed in federal court, here's what led to the charges:
Bourbeau dropped off a white 1991 Cadillac Brougham D'Elegance sedan at Totem Ocean Trailer Express in Tacoma, Wash., on Feb. 15 to have the car shipped to the Port of Anchorage. Later that day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers with a trained dog decided to search the car. They found 35 plastic bags holding marijuana inside two blue sleeping bags, a large black duffle bag and a brown garbage bag in the trunk. There were various amounts of marijuana in each bag, and, altogether, it weighed about 80 pounds. Homeland Security agents seized the drugs, the car and some documents, and "arranged for the controlled delivery of all items," the charges say. The Seattle agents sent the Cadillac on a barge headed to Anchorage.
On Tuesday, agents in Anchorage replaced the seized marijuana with "sham" marijuana and put a tracking device and electronic monitors in the car to alert them when the trunk and one of the bags was opened. Bourbeau had flown from Seattle to Anchorage and picked up the car that afternoon. She drove it to McIntyre's home on East 72nd Avenue, and McIntyre arrived a short time later. Soon after, one of the electronic monitors indicated the trunk had been opened.
Agents stormed into the home. The bags holding the fake marijuana had been moved inside from the car. The agents detained Bourbeau and McIntyre.
Bourbeau admitted to moving marijuana from the Lower 48 to Alaska inside cars she shipped on four prior occasions, the charges say. McIntyre said he knew the bags were supposed to be holding marijuana. When the agents searched the home, they found more marijuana, packaging materials, drug paraphernalia, "a drug transaction ledger," and several thousand dollars in cash, the charges say. A shed behind the home held grow equipment that was not in use.
Bourbeau and McIntyre were arrested and remained in jail Friday.
Reach Casey Grove at email@example.com or 257-4589.
By CASEY GROVE