Border officers in Westman were busy during April.
Across southern Manitoba, more than 150,000 travellers were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency. All told, officers checked 58,000 cars and 16,600 commercial trucks, and issued 117 work permits and eight study permits, as well as permanent residency documents for 195 people.
On the negative side of the ledger, some 70 people were turned away from the border for being inadmissible to Canada.
At the Coulter crossing, south of Melita, two people were refused entry during April. One was a 54-year-old Michigan man who said he was going to a business meeting in Saskatchewan. However, background checks showed that he had two previous drunk-driving convictions, and he didn’t have documentation to apply for entry.
The other was a 39-year-old commercial trucker who was delivering a load of coal to Saskatchewan. Officers found that he, too, had several previous convictions, in his case for assault. Although the man claimed that the charges had been dropped, he was unable to provide proof.
At the nearby Lyleton crossing, two would-be smuggling cases were stopped by border officers.
A Saskatchewan couple declared an ATV with a value of $7,300 — but border officers checking the bill of sale uncovered the actual value of $9,500. The couple was fined $815, instead of the $475 that they would have paid had they declared the higher value.
Also at Lyleton, a 22-year-old Manitoba man was importing a 2011 snowmobile which he declared at $5,000, plus $200 in auto parts. Border officers thought the price was a bit low, and asked the man what he actually paid for the snowmobile and he admitted that he paid $6,000. He was issued a $560 fine. Had he been truthful he would have paid $300 in taxes.
At the Lena crossing, south of Killarney, a nervous Manitoba man attracted attention from officers. During a secondary exam, they found about $330 worth of tobacco products hidden in his vehicle — including 12 rolls of chewing tobacco stuffed under the passenger seat and 20 rolls stuffed under the driver’s seat, plus 15 loose tins through the vehicle. The driver was hit with a $500 fine.
Some of the bigger busts happened at the International Peace Garden crossing near Boissevain.
On April 11, a British Columbia couple was returning from wintering in the U.S. and declared $1,700 in goods. When questioned about other purchases,
they both declared $1,800 in new tires that were necessary to change on their motorhome.
Border officers examined their motorhome and also found 15 litres of wine, 57 cans of beer, two bottles of alcohol, two cartons of cigarettes, a GPS device and two cookware sets concealed throughout — totalling an additional $1,200. The couple was fined $422 and the undeclared alcohol and cigarettes were seized.
On April 17, a 22-year-old Manitoba truck driver was returning with a load of coal from earlier in the day and said he had nothing further to declare. During a search of the cab, officers found two 1.75-litre bottles of whiskey wedged between the bunk mattress and wall of truck. Also, behind the driver’s seat, officers found a pair of four-litre water jugs, which were factory labelled and looked like water, however smelled of alcohol. When questioned, the man admitted he had emptied four 1.75-litre bottles of rum and poured them into the two water jugs. In addition to the two bottles found behind the seats, the man had attempted to smuggle a total of six 1.75-litre bottles of rum. The alcohol was seized and the man was given a $100 fine.
On April 21, a 42-year-old Manitoba man was importing a snowmobile that he declared at $1,850 but had actually paid $2,400. The man was issued a $300 fine, when he would have otherwise owed only $120 in GST.
On April 22, a Manitoba couple were importing a vehicle declared at $10,000. Officers were unable to verify their declared price, so they contacted the seller, who said he was asking $13,000 but sold it for $10,000 — but that was in addition to the paint job and labour for $2,300. The man importing the vehicle admitted he had not declared the painting or labour. He was issued a $1,400 fine instead of just $115 in taxes.
The CBSA also reminded travellers that visiting the International Peace Garden is actually leaving Canada. When returning, they say a passport is the preferred form of ID for getting back into the country.
» Brandon Sun