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Over $30,000 seized by Canadian immigration authorities at Emerson

A case of criminal inadmissibility at the southern Manitoba border

EMERSON, MANITOBA – On May 3, 2015 in the border town of Emerson, Manitoba, officers confiscated nearly $31,000 in undeclared funds from two Canadian travelers returning from the States. Facing secondary examination, each confessed to having roughly $10,000 in cash, while their individual records revealed previous criminal behaviour. As neither man could verify that the funds were procured legally, the officers impounded the money as the suspected proceeds of crime. The investigation is ongoing, and the perpetrators were detained without terms of release and are now criminally inadmissible to Canada.

This case is one recent example of the work of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to screen travelers for illegal activity. Canadian immigration laws stipulate that foreign nationals with criminal charges or convictions on their record may be criminally inadmissible to Canada. Any dangerous or illegally acquired goods in their possession are likely to be seized at the border.

Throughout the month of May 2015, CBSA officers stationed in southern Manitoba processed a total of 169,254 travelers in 57,972 automobiles and 22,606 commercial trucks, and issued 212 work permits and three study permits. In the same time period, eight travelers were arrested or temporarily detained for smuggling or other reasons.

Specific cases of criminality reported by CBSA in May include the following:

May 8: Four undeclared firearms (two muzzle-loader rifles, a shotgun, and a revolver) were seized from a traveler bound for Alaska in a trailer with no license plates. The man paid a $1,550 penalty fee for return of his vehicle and all of the weapons except the revolver, which was confiscated with no terms of release.

May 15: Officers arrested a 33-year-old American male for drug-smuggling and driving under the influence. While questioning the subject and examining his vehicle, local authorities in Sprague, Manitoba detected hints of impairment. The driver subsequently failed a screening test for impaired driving, and a secondary search of his vehicle yielded several items that tested positive for the presence of marijuana, including a plastic bag containing a green leafy substance. CBSA officers apprehended the traveler for impaired driving as defined by the Criminal Code, and for smuggling suspected controlled goods or substances according to the Customs Act. The driver was issued an Allowed to leave Canada with no charges filed, and was returned to the United States.

How to avoid trouble at the border

Stolen goods or funds and criminal activity are not the only things that might prevent you from entering the country. Sometimes the possession of seemingly innocuous goods can land you into trouble with the border authorities.

Travelers to Canada—including homebound Canadians as well as Americans traveling for leisure or work—should be aware of restrictions on what they can bring into the country. These include certain food items: for example, travelers are prohibited from importing any raw poultry or uncooked poultry products and by-products from selected states. Restricted products include eggs and raw pet foods that are sourced, processed, packaged, or shipped from Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 11 other states.

Ignorance of travel restrictions can lead to the seizure of your possessions and/or criminal inadmissibility to Canada, which can not only affect your current plans but also impede future travel. A knowledgeable Canadian immigration lawyer can offer guidance if you are unsure about bringing particular items with you across the border.

For more information about entering Canada when criminally inadmissible, contact First Immigration Law Firm @ 1-855-360-4333.