Firearm seizure breaks border record
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 14:52
Officials at the Coutts border crossing recently arrested a 54-year-old man in possession of a record number of firearms at that crossing.
In total, 75 firearms were seized. Among them were 48 handguns, 12 high-capacity magazines, a pistol crossbow and a blowgun. Officials say four of the handguns were loaded.
George Foster, a Florida resident, is currently facing 10 charges. He is due back in Lethbridge provincial court on March 15.
On Feb. 21 Foster arrived at the Coutts border crossing on his way to Alaska. According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, agents asked him if he had any firearms.
Foster declared that he had none. He was referred to a secondary inspection where border agents found the firearms hidden in his truck.
According to Sean Best, communications officer for the CBSA, there were 27 firearm seizures at the port of Coutts in 2011, the largest being four firearms.
In 2010 there were 29 firearm seizures. The largest that year was 11 firearms. Most seizures consist of one or two guns.
The only other weapon seizure at a border crossing this year happened in Lansdowne, Ont. on March 1.
There are a number of regulations that all travellers must abide by to bring any firearms into Canada, according to the CBSA.
Travellers at the border must declare all firearms in their possession and have documentation for all weapons. All weapons being transported must be unloaded and remain locked up and out of sight. Failure to do so will result in the seizure of weapons.
Charges that can be laid for travellers failing to declare firearms under the Customs Act include smuggling, making a false statement and wilful evasion of compliance.
Conviction of any of these crimes can result in fines of up to $500,000 and up to five years in prison.
In addition, charges at the border can also lead to criminal code charges, which carry their own mandatory sentences.