Collection of weapons seized by CBSA.

Collection of weapons seized by CBSA.

Smugglers keep Douglas CBSA officers on their toes

Notable discoveries made by CBSA officers in 2016 at the Douglas port of entry.

Creative smuggling techniques tend to keep Canada Border Services Agency officers on their toes, and in 2016 there was no exception.

From January until December, border-services officers at the Douglas point of entry seized 45 firearms and performed 714 narcotics seizures.

CBSA acting superintendent Erin Steeksma compiled a short list of notable seizures the CBSA made over the duration of 2016.

Last July, officers searched a vehicle driven by a returning Canadian. During the inspection, officers found two cases of commercially sealed water bottles.

“Upon opening the cases, BSO (border services officers) discovered that the centre bottles in each case had been swapped out with other bottles filled with brandy. Fourteen 500-millilitre bottles were concealed within the two cases, totalling seven litres of brandy,” Steeksma said by email.

The alcohol was seized with no terms of release and a $90 conveyance penalty was issued; criminal charges are pending.

Earlier in the year, in May, a traveller arrived in the Nexus lane and declared $287 worth of groceries. During a secondary examination, BSOs discovered a commercial shipment containing 12 conductive energy weapons (Tasers), 12 brass knuckles, five individual throwing knives, eight sets of throwing knives, six sets of smaller throwing knives, miscellaneous clothing, scarves, security badges and leather badge holders.

Steeksma said the weapons, which are all prohibited, were seized with no terms of release and a $12,500 conveyance penalty was assessed. Charges are pending.

In November, the officers searched a vehicle of a U.S. resident entering Canada and found US$128,000 of undeclared cash and a .45-calibre pistol with a loaded magazine hidden behind the left tail-light lens. The firearm was seized and the traveller paid a penalty for the undeclared currency before returning to the U.S.

Fenix, a detector dog used by CBSA, is one of the resources available to the officers.

“Fenix assisted with the seizure of approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine in October 2016. Also, in November 2016, Fenix was involved in the discovery of 125 pounds of dried poppy seeds in a commercial shipment at Pacific Highway commercial,” Steeksma said.

Charges are pending against the driver.

The Douglas and Pacific Highway ports of entry welcomed more than 7,000 new immigrants to Canada last year.

The Customs Act authorizes border security officers to examine all persons, conveyances and goods, including electronic devices. A Nexus member found in breach of the Nexus program will have their membership revoked.

As for importing a firearm or weapon, Steeksma suggests checking with CBSA before arriving at a port of entry. Firearms and weapons are considered high-risk commodities and the CBSA is committed to keeping these items from entering Canada.

Travellers must declare all firearms and/or weapons in their possession and have all necessary documentation available.