South Surrey border-jump reports keep officials busy

Family of four among groups investigated by immigration ministry

Surrey RCMP detained a pair of suspected Turkish nationals Saturday morning and a family of four Sunday morning, following reports of individuals seen crossing into Canada illegally, between the Douglas and Pacific Highway borders in South Surrey.

According to a Surrey RCMP news release, the couple – who looked to be in their 60s – were spotted just before 7:30 a.m. Feb. 25 in the area of 170 Street and 0 Avenue.

Officers dispatched to the area took two “co-operative” people into custody. They were turned over to immigration officials.

No news release was issued regarding the family of four, however, images captured by a freelance Reuters photographer show Mounties searching a young girl – reportedly one of two children in the group – a black backpack on the trunk of a vehicle and family members sitting in the back seat of a police car.

Cpl. Scotty Schumann told Peace Arch News Monday that he could not share any details of the incident, as it is not a police investigation.

“We don’t keep them, we don’t confirm their identities…” he said of the detained individuals. “We’re referring everybody to (Canada Border Services Agency) for details.”

Officials with CBSA, however, said they also could not comment, noting the RCMP is responsible for incidents that occur between the ports of entry.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials did not respond to inquiries by PAN press time Tuesday morning.

U.S. officials were also busy at the local border this weekend, announcing Monday that two men were  detained at the Peace Arch port in separate incidents Saturday evening. One resulted in an arrest, and the other, a wait for extradition.

In the first, a 20-year-old Lynnwood man was arrested after border officers discovered an order prohibiting the man from being in the presence of his passenger. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the order was served in February 2014.

“Protection orders are taken very seriously,” Area Port Director Kenneth Williams said in a news release. “As part of our numerous law-enforcement duties, we always verify the authenticity of protection orders and ensure the safety of the protected individual.”

The man was turned over to Blaine Police Department and bail was set at $5,000.

In the second incident, a 39-year-old Estonian man was detained after being denied entry to Canada. CBSA officers discovered he had overstayed his visa. As well, he had a driving-under-the-influence charge out of Los Angeles from Jan. 30.

The man’s passport showed an admission stamp that expired May 10, 2015.

“He soon will be back in Estonia thanks to excellent bilateral collaboration of CBP and CBSA,” Williams said.

The man was transported to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma to await a hearing and removal from the U.S.