Pilot who fled to Canada after unauthorized landing in U.S. in custody, officials say

Pilot who fled to Canada after unauthorized landing in U.S. in custody, officials say

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A pilot was arrested Wednesday after Customs and Border Patrol said he landed without authorization in Winthrop Wednesday.

Officials said the man also fled from personnel with U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations.

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Agents with the Bellingham Air and Marine Branch said they detected the airplane enter the U.S. and land at the Methow Valley Airport in Winthrop.

"When agents approached the pilot to question him, he jumped into his airplane and flew away," officials wrote in a news release.

Officials said they pursued the plane in helicopters and watched the pilot throw "several bags out of the airplane into the wilderness."

Customs and Border Patrol agents said they received permission to continue their pursuit across the Canadian Border.

The pilot then landed at the airport in Langley, British Columbia, where he was arrested, officials said.

"Due to the exceptional skills of our pilots and air interdiction agents, we were able to ensure that this man did not escape arrest," said Jeremy Thompson, director, Bellingham Air and Marine Branch. "Additionally, our partnerships and coordination with Canadian law enforcement agencies played a crucial role in the arrest of this man."

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