Nakusp man nabbed at border

Leslie Bateman, 64, was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on May 5.

  • May. 22, 2014 10:00 a.m.

Allegedly tried to smuggle in  50 pounds of ecstasy.

A Nakusp resident is being detained at the Spokane County Jail after allegedly attempting to smuggle more than 50 pounds of ecstasy across the border at Metaline Falls.

Leslie Bateman, 64, was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on May 5 as he attempted to enter Washington state as a commercial truck driver transporting a load of cedar bark and rails destined for Idaho.

Suspicions arose when a physical search by CBP officers discovered a heavier than normal mattress pad in the truck’s cab.

Closer inspection uncovered 13 plastic vacuum sealed packages hidden in cutouts within the mattress containing Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) powder.

Bateman had agreed not to resist extradition if released on bond and allowed to return to Canada. But last week, a federal judge  refused to issue a bond amount without further briefing from attorneys.

Bateman told federal investigators he was short on money and accepted an offer of $15,000 from a man to make a delivery when he trucked lumber to southeast Idaho.

He said he knew what he was transporting was illegal and that he’d made a “huge mistake,” according to court documents.

The plan allegedly involved shipping the ecstasy and delivering them to a man named “Elvis” at a Post Falls truck stop.

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine is used to manufacture the illicit synthetic drug “ecstasy” and   is deemed to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse.