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American convicted of smuggling cocaine into Canada

Kim Bolan, Postmedia Network

A Bellingham man has been convicted of smuggling 29 kilos of cocaine into Canada in late 2014.

Victor Tyrone Peal, along with Surrey resident Kyle Maurice Provo, were arrested by Surrey RCMP after being found in a field on the night of Nov. 8, 2014, near the Canada-U.S. border.

Near the two men were three backpacks containing the cocaine.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Arnold-Bailey said in an April 13 ruling that the Crown had proven its case against Peal.

(Provo was convicted earlier and sentenced to six years in jail.)

“I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the only rational inference to be drawn from the proven facts is that Mr. Peal knew there was cocaine in the backpacks, and that he had a significant measure of control over them when the backpacks were found close to him in the bush,” Arnold-Bailey said.

“In my view, it is also possible to find on the evidence in this case that Mr. Peal was in joint possession with Mr. Provo of the cocaine in the three backpacks … and their joint enterprise to possess the cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.”

She convicted Peal of both unlawful importation of cocaine, as well as possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Canadian police were alerted to the smugglers by U.S. Border Patrol agents who had stopped a vehicle linked to a known American smuggler south of the border.

U.S. agents observed two people cross into Canada — one of them wearing camouflage and the other in dark clothing. Both had backpacks on.

“I find that there is ample circumstantial evidence from which the only rational inference to be drawn is that Mr. Peal carried a backpack of cocaine across the Canada/U.S. border into Canada with Mr. Provo and most likely, one other person,” Arnold-Bailey said.

The cocaine, valued at $35,000-$45,000 per kilo, had an estimated value of more than $1 million.