Monday, January 30, 2017

Top five Alberta border stories of 2016

A CBSA officer places a traveller under arrest (CBSA photos)

Canada Border Services Agency -
As 2017 begins, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) shares the top stories from its border crossings in southern Alberta last year. Each of these stories highlights the important role that front-line CBSA officers play in protecting Albertans.

60 packages of cocaine seized from a shipment of TVs at Coutts on September 2
The top story of 2016 was taking more than 200 kg of cocaine off the street, in three separate incidents, over the Labour Day and Thanksgiving weekends. Officers at Coutts process more than 330 commercial vehicles every day, and uncovered a total of 177 cocaine packages after referring these three for further examination. The concealment locations included a truck cab, in boxes of Halloween costumes, and in TV boxes. The CBSA arrested five men – one from Ontario and four from British Columbia – and turned them over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The matter is currently before the courts.

The inside of the SUV rocker panels where packages of suspected methamphetamine were found at Del Bonita on January 31

Coming in second was the seizure of 14.5 kg of suspected methamphetamine at the Del Bonita border crossing on January 31. Through an in-depth examination, with help from detector dog Comet, officers found 14 packages of the suspected drug. They were concealed in compartments built into the vehicle’s rocker panels. The CBSA arrested one woman from Alberta and turned her over to the RCMP. The matter is currently before the courts.

Nine guns seized at the Coutts border crossing on August 27.
Another major theme was the number of guns officers seized, many from United States visitors who failed to declare them. The Coutts border crossing recorded the second-most seized firearms (52), including 35 handguns, out of any border crossing in Western Canada. That total was bolstered by 11 guns seized in a period of less than 24 hours in August.

Also in August, officers identified two children at the border who were reported missing in the United States. The minors had been placed under arrest for failing to declare firearms when officers conducted database checks and learned of their status as missing children. The minors were then transferred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody for reunification with their parents.

The Coutts border crossing

Finally, the number of impaired drivers (14) arrested at southern Alberta border crossings nearly tripled in 2016, compared to five arrests from the previous year. The CBSA reported impaired driving cases almost every month of the year, including three arrests at Carway in October. The impaired drivers were turned over to the RCMP.

“As officers, we take great pride in serving the province and the communities that we call home. We are Canada’s front line and are committed to utmost diligence in securing the border and keeping Albertans safe.” - Tim Ziola. A/Director, Southern Alberta and Southern Saskatchewan District, Canada Border Services Agency

Quick Facts

  • CBSA officers in southern Alberta welcomed more than: 895,700 travellers in 488,600 cars, 128,600 commercial trucks, 400 buses, 130 aircraft, and 730 trains. They processed more than 13,900 courier shipments.
  • Officers welcomed more than 8,400 new permanent residents, issued more than 1,500 work permits, and issued 260 study permits.
  • While fulfilling their duty to screen goods entering Canada, officers executed 195 seizure actions.
  • Officers refused entry to 1,000 foreign nationals for various reasons including criminality.

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