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Impounded boat shrouded in mystery; sheriff says ‘BC Bud’ may have been smuggled here

The San Juan County Sheriff
The San Juan County Sheriff's Department impounded this Canadian boat Oct. 15. According to Sheriff Bill Cumming, two people with backpacks beached the boat Oct. 7 at Cape San Juan and got a ride to town, saying that the boat belonged to a friend in Friday Harbor.
— image credit: Molly Neely-Walker

Two people beached their boat at Cape San Juan and got a ride into town, telling a helpful carpenter that they had run into boat trouble.

But now the San Juan County Sheriff’s Department suspects the two smuggled marijuana onto the island from Canada.

On Friday, the Sheriff’s Department impounded the Canadian runabout that was beached at Cape San Juan on Oct. 7.

Sheriff Bill Cumming said the boat is presumed stolen. Using the boat’s serial number, located on the transom, Canadian authorities have not been able to identify an owner but as of Friday the boat had not been reported stolen, Cumming said.

The boat is a Hourston Glascraft 14-foot runabout built in North Vancouver.

Phil Brucato of Lowe Construction said he was working on a house on Driftwood Lane when, about 3 p.m., a man and woman approached him, said they had had a problem with their boat’s fuel line, and asked for a ride into town. They said the boat belonged to a friend in Friday Harbor.

Brucato described the man as middle-aged, the woman as a teen about 14. They both carried backpacks; the man said he was an accountant from Utah. They said they had been sightseeing in a friend’s boat when they ran into engine trouble and had to beach the boat.

Brucato said he gave them a ride to Carter Avenue so they could get a mechanic. “I didn’t see anything odd about it. But the next day, I saw the boat was still there and that it didn’t have a Washington vessel registration number. A week later, the boat was still there.”

Cumming said the boat is being treated as abandoned property.

The boat has a Yamaha 70 outboard. “With a 70, she should go 38 mph if running well,” said Bill Hourston of Hourston Glascraft. Based on the logo on the boat’s hull, he said the boat was built in or after 1976.

Customs officers in Friday Harbor said they could neither confirm nor deny whether the boat cleared Customs before entering the States. An agent said the case has been forwarded to Homeland Security.

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