Smuggling Drugs Between the US and Canada by Todd Rutherford

Stanley J. Borley’s The Reluctant Villain: Coward of the Heart relates Borley’s tale of smuggling drugs between the United States and Canada, procuring drugs in the United States on the Vancouver border, and motoring hundreds of pounds of marijuana using an old boat. Although the headlines focus primarily on the drug smuggling that occurs on our southern border, it is extremely common to transport drugs across the northern border as well.

Borley’s account is similar to the March conviction in Washington State of seven Canadians from British Columbia who were responsible for thousands of kilograms of marijuana smuggled into the United States through PVC pipe, hollowed out logs, wood chips, and hidden compartments in tractor-trailer trucks. The “managers” were sentenced to four and a half years in jail; five lower level smugglers were given sentences ranging from probation to one year in jail. Over the course of the three-year-long investigation, Rob Shannon, the ring leader of the operation was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Just as the recently arrested Canadians used creativity to smuggle drugs, Borley and his partner had to change the nature of their operation when the boat owner no longer wanted to participate, leaving them to find a new means of smuggling drugs into the country. They eventually settle on a plane whose pilot had been smuggling cocaine from South America to the US and Canada, demonstrating to readers that our borders remain at risk from every point of accessibility, whether it is air, water, or land.

Borley relates his tale of becoming a “reluctant villain,” dealing marijuana and cocaine on an international scale, which progressively escalates, leading him to Red China and Korea. Although the smuggling of drugs across our border with Mexico is the one most hotly talked about, our northern border remains at great risk to such schemes as that of Borley, allowing seemingly innocuous boats, planes, and in the case of the recent news story, tractor-trailers, to transport drugs across borders with operations going undetected for many months or even years. The large-scale nature of both Borley’s operation and the 2011 conviction give readers pause for reflection on just how unprotected our borders truly are.

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