Those who know me personally know of my connection to the F.B.I. I am a dual citizen of both Canada and the USA. I spent 44 years of my life down there and married into an F.B.I. family. Thus, I have many law enforcement contacts south of our shared border. Accordingly, when a reader asked me a question about the two men who were found murdered near Ucluelet, a review of the circumstances made me suspect a very large drug deal gone bad. As larger deals tend to involve cross border commerce, I reached out to my U.S. contacts in order to bring you this story of drug smuggling, dead men, sailboats and Ecuador.
This was drug smuggling at the highest level
My F.B.I. contacts then put me in touch with other U.S. law enforcement officials from other agencies. It took a few weeks to piece everything together. It was worth the wait though because what emerged from these anonymous sources is an incredible tale.
Read on and gain an insight that most people do not have. Read on and learn how major drug smuggling operations are run.
Any business having to do with drugs is a paranoid business, as well as a dangerous business. And the greater the value of the drugs the greater the paranoia and the danger. With this load there was no shortage of either.
Because of the paranoia every part of a drug smuggling plan is on a need to know basis.
There are only two ways to get significant quantities of dope out of South America, by air or by water.
Whether flying or sailing, there are three basic parts to such a plan:
- Acquisition and delivery of the dope to the ship or plane
- Then the sailing/flight and the delivery of the dope to its port of destination, which could simply be an improvised runway or a meet up close to shore with another boat on a dark night
- And finally, the unloading of the dope
Those who deliver and load do not know the destination of the plane or the boat or who the actual buyers are. And the pilots or sailors have no idea who loaded their craft. They only know their course and their port of destination.
The people who unload it when it arrives do not know from where it came or who the pilots or sailors are.
No person or group of people knows anything more than they absolutely need to know to perform their job.
Running the gauntlet
Daley and Archbald were boating, not flying. When you bring dope by boat from South America to Canada, you risk drawing the attention of the U.S. authorities as you skirt up their west coast. Archbald and Daley took a few commonsense precautions.
Archbald and Daley staged their voyage from Ecuador even though the dope was purchased in Peru. While dope is available in Ecuador also, leaving from there draws much less heat than leaving from Peru because Peru is a “prime source country” and Ecuador is not.
To accommodate this plan, as a condition of sale, the sellers to Canada likely had to assume the extra risk of getting the dope from Peru to Ecuador. Had they not been willing to do so there would have been no sale. The Canadian buyers were at risk only after their ship was loaded.
July 7 Update: Since I initially posted this route readers have come forward saying the ship sailed from Panama. Perhaps it sailed from Panama and stopped in Ecuador to pick up the drugs. Then it proceeded from Ecuador. Therefore, Ecuador was its first departure point with drugs. Accordingly, it is accurate and fair to say it sailed from Ecuador to Canada. That is even if it made other stops along the way.
This was a long and time consuming voyage
This distance from Ecuador to Ucluelet is approximately 7,500 kilometers. The Astral Blue probably cruised at between five to eight kilometers per hour. Therefore, that is likely a fifty to sixty day cruise provided nothing goes wrong.
Old fashioned commonsense and technology are the enemies of smugglers
Ships have something known as a “waterline”. A waterline is a point on the hull of the ship where anything above it is above water and anything below it is under the water. The lower a ship’s hull sits in the water, the heavier the load aboard that ship.
This is one way law enforcement catches people drug smuggling. They simply observe how low the ship sits in the water.
Evidence of a waterline remains on a ship even weeks after it is unloaded.
This is because ocean water has a salt content and salt is a corrosive. Therefore, chemically testing the hull of a ship will reveal the previous waterline.
In turn, this reveals how heavy a load the ship carried by the location of the waterline. Additionally, by analysis of the depth of that line in the paint it will also reveal for how long that ship was in the water with that load.
Radar surveillance catches many smugglers
This was the reason that Archbald and Daley cut a wide birth around Port Angeles. Port Angeles is an official border between Canada and the U.S. As such, it has a heavy concentration of radar to warn of any ships that might be close by. By keeping its distance from land, the Astral Blue hoped to avoid scrutiny.
So, now that you understand drug smuggling somewhat better, here is the full story and what went wrong
Daniel Archbald and Ryan Daley were hired to bring a significant load of dope from South America to Canada. When they were skirting around Port Angeles an air reconnaissance plane doing a routine patrol just happened to be flying low over approaching watercraft.
The gig was up
Archbald and Daley knew that their waterline showed them to be carrying a significant load of something. They also figured that the recon flight saw their waterline. Therefore, they panicked.
They realized that because of their waterline that they could never get to port without an inspection. Accordingly, they ditched the dope overboard before arriving at the Ucluelet Small Craft Harbor.
The song says, “You don’t draw your gun on the old Lone Ranger…” Well, you can add one more to that, “You don’t dump the biker’s dope.”
Did they dump the entire load of dope at sea?
What do you think? Do you think these two flew all the way to Ecuador and then spent two months at sea in order to come back empty handed? Or do you think they might have stashed a couple of bricks?
I suspect the backpacks they were carrying as they left Ucluelet harbor might have had a little something more than travelling supplies in them.
What do you think the bikers figured? Do you think the bikers thought Archbald and Daley were above doing such a thing? After all, we are not talking about two choir boys here. We are talking about two guys who make a living dope smuggling.
I am sure they wanted to run, but they couldn’t
The first instinct of those caught in this situation, but not familiar with dope smuggling might be to just run. They might say to themselves, “I’ll grab $100,000 worth and get the hell outta Dodge, change my name and I’m good.”
WRONG! Do you remember when I told you the dope business is a paranoid business? The bikers choose their smugglers carefully. Before someone is allowed to smuggle any decent sized load, that person must have family whom the bikers know about. The family is the biker’s insurance that the smugglers don’t run. It is an effective threat.
Drug dealing is not for the feint of heart. It is a vicious game and these two didn’t play well enough.
So, in the end it was a lonely and eye opening twenty kilometer ride to their death where the bears ate them and quickly deficated their remains on the forest floor.
Now, the time has come to say “Good riddance to Daniel Archbald and Ryan Daley”
Do you think I’m insensitive? Do I offend you because I speak ill of the dead? Oh well.
Archbald and Daley were prepared to let hundreds, perhaps even thousands, die from overdosing on fentanyl so they could have a new truck or a nicer iPhone.
They didn’t care if they killed your sister, or your brother, or your daughter, or your son. All they cared about were themselves. Sometimes when you dance with the devil you end up in hell.
How do I know there was fentanyl aboard? After U.S. law enforcement alerted Canada that the Astral Blue might be drug smuggling, the RCMP, as a professional courtesy between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries, invited U.S. law enforcement to inspect the ship with them.
If that joint inspection did not occur, at the very least the RCMP followed up with the U.S. authorities and let them know what it had found. My contact told me that multiple ion scans of the Astral Blue showed cocaine and fentanyl all over the ship.
By the way, did you buy into that crap that the news media is spreading about relatives being shocked by the unimaginable deaths of Daley and Archbald because they were innocent family men? Don’t!
Before you get sold on the “this was an absolute tragedy” act, here are a few questions for you.
- How were two guys without good jobs able to afford multiple trips to South America?
- Where did they get the money to spend $100,000 on a sailboat? It obviously came from a money man financing the operation.
- Supposedly, they took the boat to Ecuador to save money on harbour fees over the winter. What would the difference in fees between the two countries be over the winter months? Do you think $1,000 or maybe $2,000? So these guys can afford the boat, but they need to go on an eight week sail from Canada to Ecuador to save a few grand. Does any of this make any sense to you?
- Do you really believe these two sailed and flew twice between Ecuador and Canada because they couldn’t afford docking fees?
- The RCMP called this a murder. So, do you also believe that they took a casual stroll up a remote logging road, twenty kilometers from civilization, and just happened to bump into a murderer who was also wandering around in the wilderness?
- If these two were the innocent sailors we are led to believe they were, why would anybody murder them?
This was drug smuggling, and any family member who thought about it for more than a second should have known it.
SHARE THIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Also, like me on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @HannonHal
You may post your comments below