Sentenced in cross-border smuggling scheme

Dustin Haugen, who allegedly crashed a helicopter in Abbotsford in 2005, was the co-pilot of a chopper transporting marijuana in 2006.

The scene of a 2005 helicopter crash in rural Abbotsford.

A Chilliwack man who was the alleged pilot of a helicopter that crashed in Abbotsford in 2005 and who has links to the Bacon brothers has been sentenced in a cross-border smuggling scheme.

Dustin Melvin Haugen, 29, previously pleaded guilty conspiracy to import 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, and was sentenced last week in a Spokane, Washington courtroom to time served.

This time included three months spent in North Fraser Pretrial Centre after his arrest in 2006 and 11 months in the U.S. after he was extradited there in April 2011.

Haugen was one of more than 40 people arrested in 2006 in a two-year-old police operation targeting drug smuggling. He and Daryl Desjardins, 45, of Agassiz were arrested on May 9, 2006 after returning to Canada following a drug drop in the U.S.

Desjardins pleaded guilty later that year in Chilliwack provincial court and was sentenced to four years in prison.

According to court documents, on the day of their arrest, police videotaped a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter leaving from a hangar near Harrison Hot Springs and landing in an isolated area in B.C.

Desjardins was the pilot, and Haugen was the co-pilot. The chopper met with occupants of a pickup truck, and Haugen was seen unloading hockey bags from the truck and placing them in the helicopter.

The chopper then took off and landed in a state wildlife area in Okanogan County in north central Washington, where the hockey bags were unloaded and placed in another truck.

The helicopter returned to its original location in Harrison Hot Springs, and the pair were arrested.

The hockey bags that had been loaded onto the truck, and seized by police, were found to contain 135.2 kilograms of marijuana.

Desjardins’ plea agreement including dropping charges against Haugen, but Haugen was extradited to the U.S. and turned himself in last year.

He is believed to be the pilot of a Bell Jet Ranger that crashed on a 58 Avenue property near Ross Road in Abbotsford in March 2005. The crash killed his girlfriend, 22-year-old Christina Alexander, but he was never charged.

At the time, search warrant documents in a case involving drug charges against Jonathan Bacon indicated that Bacon allegedly made payments of $1,000 a month to a tenant on the 58 Avenue property so helicopters could be flown from the site.

Bacon, 30, was gunned down in a targeted hit in Kelowna last summer. He was never charged in connection to the helicopter crash or cross-border smuggling.

He was the eldest of Abbotsford’s notorious Bacon brothers. Middle brother Jamie is in prison awaiting trial in the Surrey Six killings, and Jarrod is in custody awaiting sentencing on a drug conspiracy conviction.