This helicopter is being held by police pending an official forfeiture process.

This helicopter is being held by police pending an official forfeiture process.

Officers seize helicopter

A helicopter police believe was used to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S. was seized at a Spallumcheen property in May.

A helicopter police believe was used to smuggle cocaine into Canada from the U.S. was seized at a Spallumcheen property in May.

The machine is currently being held by police pursuant to an order made under the Civil Forfeiture Act.

Police released details of the seizure of the Bell 206 chopper on Wednesday. The seizure was the result of a search warrant executed by members of the Nelson RCMP Border Integrity program.

“This search warrant stemmed from an ongoing investigation into a suspicious helicopter seen flying in the area of Lumby over the course of about two years,” said Cpl. Annie Linteau, spokesperson for the RCMP in British Columbia.

Police report the 33-year-old owner and suspected operator of the helicopter was arrested in May but released without charges.

Criminal charges are not being pursued in the matter due to a lack of evidence.

The Nelson RCMP border program continued its investigation and referred the seizure to the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Office for follow up.

Police are confident the helicopter was used by organized crime.

“The fact that a criminal organization would purchase such a valuable vehicle for $425,000 just to move illicit drugs across the border underscores the actual value of the illicit drug movement across our shared border,” said Linteau.

“A seizure such as this may make individuals involved in criminal organizations think twice before using this method next time.”

The Nelson RCMP Border Integrity Program’s major objective is to focus on national security, organized crime and criminal activity that happens between ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border.

U.S. authorities also played a hand in this investigation.