Busy border

A summary of the Okanagan and Kootenay District border services findings from spring, 2013.

The 16 ports of entry from the U.S. in the region had a relatively busy time this spring, with weapons forming the primary focus of the cases.

The Okanagan and Kootenay District (OK and K) is comprised of 16 ports of entries (POEs), and here are some of the “highlights” of the enforcement activities going on.

The only activity highlighted close to home included a criminal investigation at Nelway border crossing south of Salmo. A resident of Washington state failed to report two grams of marijuana, glass pipe and grinder with residue.

The drugs were discovered during a search of the traveller’s vehicle. The traveller took ownership of the items and subsequently withdrew his application to enter Canada and returned to the U.S.

Other incidents include:

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA):

Since January, the OK&K District has declined entry to over 300 individuals under IRPA. Many travellers seeking to enter Canada were inadmissible due to criminal records found during background checks.

Here are a few examples:

Osoyoos: On April 13, a U.S. resident sought entry into Osoyoos.

A criminal record check revealed that the man had several past convictions for offences including driving under the influence, assault, obstruction of law enforcement, and malicious mischief, and had been found inadmissible to Canada on a previous occasion.

The subject had acquired additional convictions since then and as such, continues to be inadmissible to Canada. He voluntarily returned to the U.S. and was counselled on applying for rehabilitation in the future.

Osoyoos: On Feb. 23, a group of four U.S. residents sought entry to work in B.C.

The travellers stated that they were all here to film a video for a local lodge and in exchange would be receiving accommodation and access to a snow cat.

This constitutes work in Canada and requires a Labour Market Opinion. The four were counselled on how to obtain proper documentation and returned to the U.S.

Rykerts: On Feb. 22, a U.S. traveller arrived at the primarily inspection line, and during secondary questioning stated that she had been previously deported from Canada.

A background check then revealed that the traveller had been arrested for theft only days before, and had a record of serious criminal convictions.

She was seeking entry to attend a funeral but upon further examination, it was discovered that the funeral had already taken place.

It was explained to the traveller that due to her criminal convictions and previous deportation she needs to apply for the correct authorization to visit Canada. The traveller subsequently returned to the U.S.

 

Weapons Seizures:

During the month of April alone, CBSA officers in the OK&K District made 14 weapon seizures.

For example:

Carson: On April 21, BSOs at the Port of Carson questioned a U.S. traveller in transit from Washington to Alaska.

The travellers were asked by the examining officer, specifically about firearms, and only declared shotgun shells. The travellers were then asked a second time if they had any firearms, including weapons, gun components, mace or pepper spray and again stated no.

However, upon secondary examination of the subject’s vehicle, BSO’s seized, with no terms of release, two prohibited, over capacity magazines for a rifle.

The magazines were located in the traveller’s camper, wrapped in paper and plastic, and stored amongst dishes. No charges are pending at this time, however a penalty of $500 was assessed for the infraction.

Osoyoos: On April 4 a Canadian resident was examined by BSOs at the Osoyoos Port of Entry while returning from a trip to the United States, and referred to secondary examination.

A search was conducted of the vehicle and firearm parts for two fully automatic machine guns were found hidden throughout his motorhome.

Both guns require import permits that were not obtained. On April 18, 2013, charges were sworn against Jack Arnold Cross, by CBSA’s Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) under Section 159 [smuggling or attempting to smuggle goods into Canada] and 153 (a) [making false or deceptive statements] of the Customs Act and Section 14 of the Export and Import Permits Act [unlawful import or attempted import of controlled goods].

A provincial court appearance has been set for June 19.

Osoyoos: On April 18 a U.S. resident seeking entry to Canada, in transit to Alaska, declared no firearms, only ammunition to an officer at the primary inspection line.

During an examination of the traveller’s truck and enclosed trailer, a number of items prohibited in Canada were found, including: a .25 calibre semi-automatic pistol, a set of brass knuckles, two switchblade knives, one large twin drum magazine, 41 high capacity rifle magazines and 19 high capacity pistol magazines.

BSOs arrested the traveler for smuggling a prohibited firearm, prohibited weapons and prohibited devices, which were all seized. The investigation remains ongoing.

Roosville: On April 13 four U.S. residents in a pickup truck and accompanying cargo trailer arrived at the port, en route to Alaska.

All four travellers declared to the BSO that they were not travelling with any firearms, weapons, magazines or ammunition. However, upon physical examination of the vehicles, BSOs found a cache of prohibited ammunition in the trailer—one over capacity handgun magazine, three over capacity rifle magazines and three under capacity handgun magazines.

The magazines were seized with no terms of release, and the travellers were allowed entry into Canada upon payment of a $500 penalty.

Roosville: On April 6 a Canadian resident arrived at the Port of Roosville, returning to B.C. from a lengthy trip to the United States.

The traveler declared no firearms but upon secondary examination, an empty gun holster was found in the individual’s trailer. Further examination yielded a loaded .357 mag revolver hidden in the trailer.

After securing the firearm, BSOs arrested the traveler under Section 159 of the Customs Act, for smuggling a firearm.

He then volunteered information that there was a second firearm in the truck. BSO’s found the second firearm, a loaded .22cal pistol within a suitcase.

David Wayne Wilson was assessed a penalty and charged by CBSA’s CIS on six counts related to firearms smuggling and possession. A remote bail hearing was held and he was released on $10,000 bail with a $500 deposit.

Several conditions were imposed including an order to remain in the province and surrender both of his passports to CBSA. His next court appearance is May 21 in Cranbrook.

 

Customs Act and Criminal Investigations:

So far this year, BSOs in the OK&K District conducted 151 non-weapon seizures including narcotics, vehicles, and other miscellaneous goods.

Some examples are outlined below:

Nelway: A resident of Washington state failed to report two grams of marijuana, glass pipe and grinder with residue.

The drugs were discovered during a search of the traveller’s vehicle. The traveller took ownership of the items and subsequently withdrew his application to enter Canada and returned to the U.S.

Osoyoos: On Feb. 22 a U.S. resident seeking entry to attend a local sporting event was referred inside for collection of applicable duty and taxes on $200 worth of declared goods.

While the subject was inside, a Detector Dog Services Handler and his K9, Jack, were conducting proactive cursory exams of vehicles in secondary.

When examining the subject’s vehicle, Jack indicated on a backpack located in the bed of the subject’s pickup truck.

When officers examined the backpack, they found three grams of marijuana, a lighter and a pipe. BSOs seized the marijuana with no terms of release, and the traveler was allowed forward into Canada.

Kingsgate: On Feb. 23 a Canadian resident attempting to import a trailer dolly through the Kingsgate port of entry was referred for a secondary examination.

While officers were determining the admissibility of the dolly, the subject attempted to carve a “date of manufacture” onto the steel frame of the dolly.

This entire process was captured by surveillance cameras. When presented with the evidence, the subject admitted to attempting to falsify the build date in order to affect the admissibility of the unit.

The trailer was seized and then imported once the terms of release amount was paid.

Eleven ports of entry are scattered along the 49th parallel from Manning Park to the Alberta border, namely: Chopaka, Osoyoos, Midway, Carson, Cascade, Paterson, Waneta, Nelway, Rykerts, Kingsgate and Roosville.

In addition, five inland airports are in the district: Cranbrook, Penticton, Kelowna, Kamloops, and Prince George Airport.

Ports range in size from small nine-to-five operations like Chopaka to larger 24/7 facilities like Kingsgate and Osoyoos.

The district is served by 165 employees including border services officers (BSOs), superintendents, chiefs, a director and administrative support personnel.

The OK&K District forms part of the 43 land, air and marine ports of entry operated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the Pacific Region.

Border services officers (BSOs) administer more than 90 separate Acts and Regulations for a variety of Government of Canada departments and agencies including:

• The Customs Act

• The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

• The Criminal Code of Canada

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