Abbotsford Police are handing two Mexicans over to border services and investigating a Burnaby couple after $250,000 in U.S. cash and a loaded handgun were seized following a traffic stop near the U.S. border on Friday night.
The sergeant in charge of the APD bike section was working in a vehicle around 7 p.m. when he spotted a white mini-van travelling slowly along the United States border in the Sumas Prairie area of Abbotsford, said Const. Ian MacDonald.
The officer followed and saw a number of people inside the vehicle, including two men wearing camouflage gear.
The van was stopped and subsequently searched at Vye and Whatcom roads.
Officers seized $250,000 of U.S. currency in vacuum-sealed packages, thousands in Canadian cash and a 9 mm handgun with a fully loaded magazine.
A Burnaby couple, both in their fifties were detained, as were two Mexican men in their 30s, said MacDonald.
Abbotsford Police will hold the two Mexican men until they can be handed over to Canada Border Services Agency.
"They couldn't provide any documentation to prove they had legal status in Canada," said MacDonald.
The Burnaby man and woman have been released while an investigation takes place.
Neither have any significant history with police, said MacDonald.
"We will continue the investigation to determine if there are any criminal charges that can be laid. The difficulty is proving ownership of the contents of the vehicle," said MacDonald.
Investigators believe an illegal border crossing was likely planned or had already occurred when the van was stopped.
The loaded weapon and the quantity of cash that was vacuum-sealed are "telltale signs of organized crime", said MacDonald.
"It's too early to determine if we're dealing with the movement of people and cash, or whether something else is involved like moving weapons or drugs."