A man found with a loaded handgun at the Pacific Highway border crossing last summer has been fined nearly $7,000 after pleading guilty.
According to a news release issued Tuesday morning by Canada Border Services Agency, James Michael Knowles pleaded guilty in Surrey Provincial Court on Jan. 9 to making false statements under the Customs Act and the Criminal Code offence of possession of a prohibited firearm with readily accessible ammunition.
The charges stem from Knowles’ attempt to cross into Canada last July 6. He did not declare any firearms, however, during a secondary examination, officers found a loaded .38-calibre pistol in his waistband.
“He was immediately arrested by border services officers and subsequently charged by the CBSA’s Criminal Investigations Section,” the release states.
The month following the arrest, CBSA launched a Firearms Awareness Campaign, in an effort to encourage U.S. travellers to leave their firearms at home when they head north. A news release at that time noted the majority of firearms seizures in the Pacific Highway District in the first seven months of 2016 were personal firearms belonging to travellers arriving from the U.S.
Following last month’s guilty plea, Knowles was fined $3,000 for the Customs Act offence, $3,000 for the Criminal Code offence and a $900 victim surcharge.
Harald Wuigk, assistant director of CBSA’s Criminal Investigations Section, described the July 6 seizure – which was among 24 firearms seizures logged last year at the Pacific Highway crossing – as “a reminder for those visiting Canada that they cannot, under any circumstances, import prohibited firearms, prohibited devices or prohibited weapons.”