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Border blues for dishonest travellers

The Canada Border Services Agency calls them January 2014 highlights, but examples of people trying to pull one over on Canadian border officers in Manitoba show just how low some people will go to break the rules.

At Emerson, the province's busiest port of entry, CBSA officers processed 57,415 travellers, 16,278 cars and 15,310 commercial trucks during the first month of the year.

More than 110,000 people entered Canada at southern Manitoba's 16 land ports of entry in almost 41,000 cars and 21,800 commercial trucks.

CBSA officers refused entry to 60 people, including convicted criminals, for various reasons. There were eight seizure actions that resulted in $1,675 in penalties for travellers who undervalued or did not declare their goods.

Here are just some examples:

Emerson

-- On Jan. 4, CBSA officers refused entry to a 57-year-old Minnesota man with convictions for theft, criminal sexual conduct and burglary.

-- On Jan. 10, a 58-year-old California man was delivering a commercial load. He told officers he had been arrested once for drunk driving. Background checks revealed he had also been charged with illegal entry in the U.S., assault, rape, alien smuggling, lewd acts with a child and other crimes. The man said he had forgotten about these offences. Officers refused him entry.

-- On Jan. 14, a Manitoba man declared a French bulldog puppy at US$700. The traveller was unable to provide information on the seller. CBSA officers found a separate bill of sale in the van's glove box for US$1,600. He was issued a penalty of more than $600 and continued into Canada. If he had been truthful, he would have paid approximately $75 in goods and services tax (GST).

-- On Jan. 24, a North Dakota man failed to declare a guitar and accessories worth more than $1,050 he was planning to leave with friends in Canada. He was issued a penalty of almost $275. Had he been truthful, he would have paid approximately $50 in GST.

Boissevain

-- On Jan. 23, a Manitoba woman declared vitamins at $150. After further questioning she presented an invoice of more than US$750. The woman was fined almost $200. She could have paid less than $50 in GST.

Sprague

-- On Jan. 31, a Minnesota man and three passengers declared six cases of beer. CBSA officers uncovered more than five litres of whisky in a cargo carrier attached to their vehicle. Officers seized the whisky and the group was allowed to continue into Canada.

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