Kelowna theft suspect involved in cross-border manhunt for drug smugglers

Nathan John Hall one of four people arrested after he was spotted walking through forested U.S.-Canada border area near Abbotsford.

  • Apr. 8, 2013 12:00 p.m.

The two Canadians apprehended last week in connection with the cross-border drug smuggling incident and manhunt were both on Crime Stoppers “most wanted” list prior to their arrests, with one of the two wanted by Kelowna RCMP.

Nathan John Hall, 35, was wanted by Kelowna RCMP for three counts of breaching his conditions and one count of theft under $5,000.

He was on the list for Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers, starting in February 2013.

Jeffrey Robert Laviolette, 37, was wanted for suspension of his national parole. He was on the list for Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, starting in November 2012.

Hall has an extensive criminal record in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, according to the provincial court database.

He has prior convictions for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, driving while disqualified, resisting a police officer, assault, possession of stolen property, failing to stop at an accident and mischief.

Hall’s crimes occurred in communities including Abbotsford, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, Burnaby and Vancouver.

Laviolette was convicted of 11 robbery charges that occurred in Surrey in November and December 2007, as well as one in Burnaby in October of that year.

The following September, he was sentenced to a five-year jail term, minus 18 months’ credit for time served.

U.S. court documents allege that Hall and Laviolette were walking through a forested area along the U.S.-Canada border from Abbotsford to Sumas, Wash. on Tuesday morning when they were spotted by border agents.

Both fled, and Hall allegedly fired gunshots at the agents. Laviolette was apprehended, but Hall escaped, leading to a day-long cross-border manhunt involving authorities on both sides of the border.

Two backpacks that were allegedly dropped by Hall and Laviolette as they were running were seized by American authorities and contained 58.5 pounds of the drug ecstasy, according to the court documents.

Laviolette is now in custody in the federal detention centre in Seattle, Wash. He has been charged with conspiring to distribute ecstasy and possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute, as were two Americans – Kali Marie Henifin, 26, and Ryan Lambert, 31 of Bellingham.

Henifin and Lambert were allegedly picking up the drugs from Hall and Laviolette, with plans to transport the ecstasy to San Francisco for $11,000, the court documents state.

A detention order to retain Laviolette in the U.S. was filed in U.S. district court on Wednesday.

Hall was arrested by Abbotsford Police at an apartment in the city early Wednesday morning. Laviolette’s girlfriend was also in the residence, according to the U.S. court documents.

Hall remains in custody in Abbotsford, but has not yet been charged in relation to the border incident.

Const. Ian MacDonald said police expect to present their evidence package to Crown counsel this week. Crown will then determine what charges will be approved, and that can take up to several weeks.

Charges against Hall have not yet been laid on the U.S. side.

MacDonald said it is too early to know whether Hall will be extradited.








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