Friday, May 18, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Pot-smuggling scheme aboard the Helena Star

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April 17, 1978: The Coast Guard seizes the freighter Helena Star 130 miles off Washington with 37 tons of marijuana aboard, the region's largest-ever pot bust.

May 1, 1978: Federal drug agents seize the Joli, a 61-foot sloop, for its suspected role in the case. The winner of several international races, the Joli had been bought the previous summer from William Niemi Jr., ex-president of Eddie Bauer, by champion freestyle skier Mike Lund of Sequim.

May 10, 1978: A federal grand jury indicts Lund and two California residents, professional freestyle skier Patricia Karnik of La Jolla and securities dealer David Victorson of San Anselmo, in the botched operation. Seven others eventually are indicted. Lund becomes a fugitive.

July 27, 1978: The Helena Star's captain, Roman Rubies, and mate, Pedro Vera, are found guilty on smuggling conspiracy charges.

Oct. 5, 1978: Victorson and Eric Hale are found guilty on smuggling conspiracy charges. Victorson had arranged the purchase of a tug and barge to transport marijuana off the Helena Star before the operation fell apart.

Feb. 13, 1979: Karnik is convicted of conspiracy and ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

May 1981: Victorson and Hale, fugitives since failing to appear for sentencing in August after their appeals were overturned, are captured in Bolivia and returned.

May 15, 2001: Lund is arrested in Colorado, ending 23 years as a fugitive.


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