ASTORIA, OR (KPTV) – A man arrested off the Oregon coast while on a sailboat containing gallons of liquid meth pleaded guilty to a drug charge Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon says.
John Philip Stirling, 65, from Canada, was arrested in April last year while traveling north about 250 nautical miles from Newport, court documents state.
Stirling’s vessel, the Mandalay, had a home port of Seattle and visible U.S. registration numbers, according to officials.
When Coast Guard personnel tried to communicate with Stirling, they say he went below deck and would only respond through VHF radio.
Coast Guard personnel confirmed the Mandalay was a U.S. flagged vessel, boarded, and found Stirling alone on the sailboat. They say he did not have vessel documentation and refused to produce identification.
Soon, they say he began to show signs of a possible drug overdose and his speech began to deteriorate. Stirling was taken by helicopter to Astoria and later transported to Adventist Health Portland for additional treatment.
Officials searched the Mandalay and found 28 seven-gallon jugs containing liquid methamphetamine.
In court Monday, Stirling pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act. Under the MDLEA, Stirling faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $10 million fine, and five years of supervised release.
Stirling is due in court for sentencing on April 20.
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