A Cochrane man could be facing long-term imprisonment for allegedly attempting to smuggle nearly 650 kilograms (1,431 lbs.) of methamphetamine by boat from Washington State to B.C.

Ted Karl Faupel, 51, was arrested on the water in the U.S. San Juan Islands by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) on May 25 in a small watercraft loaded with 28 duffle bags containing a total of 539 packages of methamphetamine. 

It is believed to have a street value of $28.5 million.

According to the criminal complaint filed, CBP officers encountered the 18’ Bayliner Capri speedboat heading toward towards Canada and stopped the craft because it was riding suspiciously low in the water.

Acting on border search authority, officers made a small cut in one bag and observed shrink wrap packaging of what was later confirmed to be crystal methamphetamine.

Faupel was taken into custody and the boat was taken to the Bellingham Coast Guard Station where a drug dog alerted to the presence of narcotics. 

According to the complaint, Faupel said he was in the Victoria, B.C. area looking for work. While hiking near a marina in Sydney, Vancouver Island, he said he was offered $1,000 to move the boat to Anacortes, Washington, and back.

In his interview with law enforcement officials, Faupel stated he arrived in Anacortes on May 24 and was met by four men driving a crew cab with a boat trailer. He spent the night alone in a hotel and was picked up the following morning, and returned to the Washington State Park boat dock, then departed for Canada. 

He claims he was unaware of the content of the duffel bags that had padlocks on the zippers.

Evidence collected by law enforcement officials indicates otherwise.

They discovered a ledger of this drug operation and others in his backpack and a single American dollar inscribed with the words "28 duffle bags" and a signature. Officials say it is a verification method commonly used by drug trafficking organizations to maintain security while transporting narcotics.

A 9mm handgun with ammunition was also seized from the backpack. Faupel claimed ownership of the firearm and said it was for protection while hiking.

Faupel is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. If convicted, officials of the US Attorney's Office state Faupel will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

He made his first court appearance in Seattle last Thursday.

Duffle bag of drugs