An American man who allegedly jumped the closed U.S.-Canada border evaded federal police for hours by floating down a river.
RCMP officers in Grand Forks, British Columbia, about ten minutes north of Washington State by car, said in a news release that they arrested the man after spending two and a half hours on a “float chase” down the Kettle River on Friday.
At around 1 a.m., local Washington law enforcement contacted Grand Forks RCMP to report the suspected border jumper after they failed to stop him in Kettle Falls, on the U.S. side. They had even managed to use a spike strip, but it apparently did little to stop the man, who was in a stolen vehicle, from making his way into Canada.
The suspect drove onwards and allegedly “rammed through the barriers at the border” before abandoning the car just outside the Grand Forks downtown core and fleeing on foot.
Officers later spotted the suspect close to where the car had been abandoned and attempted to make an arrest. But the man managed to escape and jumped into the Kettle River.
RCMP officers walked along the river bank to keep track of the man for sometime before the waters narrowed. That’s when police and “good samaritans” hopped into the waters and escorted the suspect back onto shore and arrested him, they said.
On Saturday, officers handed the man over to Canada Border Services Agency. RCMP and CBSA are working together, along with U.S. law enforcement. The suspect is facing possible charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, as well as the Criminal Code of Canada.
The U.S.-Canada border has been closed since March 21 in an effort to prevent cross-border spread of COVID-19. It’s scheduled to remain closed until the end of August, with Canadian experts hoping politicians will extend the closure.
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