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Alberta CBSA report for February and March

Gun possession, pornography, and drug charges make American travellers criminally inadmissible to Canada

APRIL 2016 – Every month in 2015, southern Alberta border agents processed an average of 95,421 travellers in 38,679 automobiles and 10,755 commercial trucks, according to official statistics from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). But not all of these individuals make it across the border from the States, as several are found criminally inadmissible for various reasons. CBSA has publicly released information about selected cases of travellers being found inadmissible to Canada over the past two months.

At the border crossing in Coutts since February, a number of gun-related incidents have resulted in multiple charges and the seizure of weapons from various American travellers. On February 2, border officers at Coutts seized one prohibited .32-calibre handgun from 43 year-old Brandon Pryor of Utah. Pryor was charged under the Customs Act for failing to answer truthfully after the officers seized his weapon. Pryor pleaded guilty on March 16 and received a $1,500 fine and a forfeiture order for the confiscated weapons.

Nearly four weeks later, Coutts border officers confiscated one prohibited .380-calibre pistol and 24 prohibited magazines from an American motorist, 47 year-old Michael Bissonette of Georgia, on February 29. He now faces five charges under the Criminal Code and eight under the Customs Act — a total of 13 offences, for which he is scheduled to go to trial on April 20.

On March 19, Coutts border agents apprehended a Florida resident bound for Alaska after finding two items in his truck: one undeclared .25-calibre handgun stashed in a backpack in the back seat and a magazine concealed under a floor mat. Although the driver was arrested, he co-operated by paying a $1,000 fine for not declaring the gun and was subsequently allowed to cross the border without the weapon in question.

CBSA officers also prevented convicted criminals and other inadmissible individuals from crossing the border to Canada throughout the month of March. On March 1, at the border crossing in Wild Horse, border authorities deemed an American man inadmissible to Canada for seeking employment in the country without a work permit, and for having three previous convictions for child pornography possession on his record. He later attempted to cross the border a second time via Aden but was refused again.

On March 19 at the border crossing in Carway, a foreign national seeking a work permit received an exclusion order because he was discovered to have already been working unauthorized on Canadian soil. He is not permitted to return to Canada for a full year.

Drug charges also kept travellers out of Canada. On March 27, Carway border agents denied entry to an American woman who had been convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Throughout March, CBSA officers stationed at Coutts found a total of 48 foreign nationals inadmissible to Canada for a variety of reasons, including criminal convictions on their record. They issued a total of 88 work permits and allowed entry to 725 immigrants. During the same month, Carway border officers deemed only seven foreign nationals inadmissible to the country, while issuing 33 work permits and allowing entry to 384 immigrants. You may read more about the frequent causes of criminal inadmissibility to Canada here on our website.