A man who fired a gun at border agents while fleeing during a drug-smuggling operation from Abbotsford to Sumas, Wash., in 2013 has been sentenced to seven years in prison in the U.S.
Nathan Hall, 41, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle on charges of drug trafficking and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offence.
Hall was identified as the second smuggler in an unsuccessful attempt to bring more than 20 kilos of ecstasy into the U.S.
Hall, a Canadian citizen with an extensive criminal record in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, was arrested in Abbotsford on April 3, 2013 following a day-long cross-border manhunt.
The incident began the previous day, when U.S. border agents spotted two men walking through a forested area along the U.S.-Canada border from Abbotsford to Sumas, Wash.
Both fled, and one of the men – alleged to be Hall – fired a gun at the agents. The other man, Jeffrey Robert Laviolette of Surrey, was apprehended at the scene.
Two backpacks that were dropped by the suspects as they ran were seized by U.S. authorities and found to contain 58.5 pounds (almost 27 kg) of the drug ecstasy.
One of the backpacks contained identification documents with Hall’s photo but a fake name.
Hall was arrested early the next morning at an Abbotsford apartment, and remained in Canada until he was ordered extradited to the U.S. in 2016.
According to records filed in the case, Hall was a member of a conspiracy that transported ecstasy in backpacks by hiking over rough rural terrain at the border.
The drugs were then transported to California for distribution.
Hall pleaded guilty to both of his charges last November, but continues to deny that he was the smuggler who fired the shot. However, a trail camera caught Hall with a gun strapped to his thigh on an earlier smuggling run in March 2013.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said Hall “has a history of chronic lying, using fake ID, and ignoring court orders.”
Hall will likely be deported following his prison term, but can petition for a transfer back to Canada while he is in prison.
Laviolette was held in custody in the U.S. after his arrest and received a 10-year jail term in December 2013.
Two others, Ryan Lambert and Kali Henifin, both U.S. residents, were also charged in the case. They had made plans to pick up the drugs from the two men and transport them to San Francisco.
Both were sentenced in August 2014, each on a charge of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy. Lambert was handed a two-year jail term, while Henifin received a three-year sentence.