The Canada Border Services Agency said last week they had two criminal cases concluded in Regina provincial court on June 1.
Alexandre Lartelier plead guilty to one count of failing to appear for examination contrary to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and was sentenced to 30 days of incarceration.
The court heard that on May 26 of this year, CBSA officers at the Monchy border crossing witnessed a vehicle approach the port from the United States and it did not stop to report as required. Border officers alerted the Ponteix detachment of the RCMP who intercepted the car and driver and charges were subsequently laid against Lartelier.
Richard Squires of Millet, Alta. entered a guilty plea of willfully evading the payment of duties on imported goods contrary to the Customs Act. The judge ordered an $8,000 fine.
The charges stemmed from Squires' importation and attempted undervaluation of a 2009 motorhome which he imported into Canada at North Portal on May 18 of last year. It was learned that Squires had paid $190,000 for the motorhome but had declared its value as $90,000 when he reported to CBSA agents.
In other CBSA news, it was learned that in May of this year, a total of 77 people were refused entry into Canada at the North Portal border point alone. Fifty-three of them were refused entry due to criminal backgrounds and 11 for other serious criminal actions while the remaining 23 were inadmissible for various issues such as lacking proper documents or for not being a genuine visitor.
At the Estevan Highway border crossing, six people were refused entry, two of them for serious criminality.
On May 21, a man applied for a work permit at the North Portal port since he was travelling to a new job in northern Alberta. However, background checks revealed several previous criminal convictions including armed robbery, possession of a firearm, assault and driving under the influence of alcohol. He was refused entry.
On May 24, a resident of Ohio attempted to enter into Canada to go bear hunting but he was refused entry at the North Portal crossing for trying to smuggle 33.3 grams of what was suspected to be marijuana into Canada. He was arrested and turned over to the RCMP. After they were finished with their investigation, the man was directed back to the port and refused entry into Canada for committing an illegal act upon entry. He now has a July court date in Estevan.
Some lessons in declaration of goods were also learned by several travellers entering Canada as well during the month of May.
On May 8, an Alberta resident was returning to Canada through North Portal. He was coming back following a visit to Ohio where he had purchased a 27-foot boat and trailer. He declared the goods as having a value of US$45,000. However, through further interviews with the traveller, CBSA officers determined the true value was more like $54,600 so the boat and trailer were seized and the importer was assessed a penalty of $6,010. The importer admitted he was attempting to save taxes. If he had been truthful with the declaration at the start, the additional taxes would have amounted to a mere $480.
On May 30 at the Estevan Highway crossing, a Saskatchewan resident was returning following a day trip to Minot and declared US$80 in miscellaneous goods. CBSA officers conducted a more complete examination which revealed an undeclared ring valued at $7,000. The ring was seized and a penalty of $2,153.15 was to be paid before it would be returned. If the ring and its value had been properly declared, the traveller would have been required to pay $717 in taxes (GST and PST).
CBSA officials note that the new personal exemption laws are now in effect.
After an absence of 24 hours, a Canadian citizen may bring back $200 worth of goods duty- and tax-free, however if you are declaring more than $200 of goods after a 24-hour absence, no exemption will be applied. After 48 hours, the personal exemption will be $800.
There is no exemption for same-day travel and return.
In the summer months, CBSA officers see an increase in the importation of fireworks into Canada. They remind all travellers that an import permit is required to bring fireworks into Canada. Fireworks that do not have the necessary permit will be refused entry. To learn how to obtain a permit to import fireworks and additional information, contact the Explosive Regulatory Division, Natural Resources Canada at (613) 948-5200 or www.erd.nrcan.gv.ca