Courts & Crime

Opium poppy ring in Bellingham busted by Feds

Six men were arrested Wednesday, Sept. 1, on suspicion of intending to smuggle into Canada opium poppies that they allegedly picked up at a Bellingham discount store.

Immigrations and Customs and Enforcement agents tailed a vehicle containing four of the men as it drove to the Dollar Plus store in the 4100 block of Meridian Street.

Several of the men left the car and brought empty hockey bags into the store; a short while later they exited the rear of the store with full hockey bags, which they began to load into two vehicles, according to a police report read at the suspects' first appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Agents stopped the men to question them, causing one to drop a bag and run back into the store, according to the report. Agents saw poppy bulbs and stems on the ground inside the store.

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