Pubdate: Tue, 08 Nov 2011
Source: Victoria News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Black Press
Author: Rudy Haugeneder, Victoria News


With only one large inflatable patrol boat to check more than 18,000
privately-owned U.S. vessels annually approaching southern Vancouver
Island for illegal firearms and drugs, the Canadian Border Services
Agency does a pretty good job.

Rather than complain about not having more than a 9.5-metre rigid hull
inflatable vessel, the MV Portcullis, at its disposal, CBSA officers
displayed their haul to the media on Friday - 47 illegal firearms and
other prohibited weapons, including high-calibre handguns, a U.S.
military AR15 assault rifle with several clips of ammunition, switch
blades, cans of bear spray designed for use against people, and even
brass knuckles attached to a very big knife blade.

There was also a blow-gun, deadly throwing stars and other dangerous

Not displayed was the large amount of illegal drugs, from cocaine and
marijuana to assorted other narcotics outlawed in Canada.

And the marine border services team turned back 404 people, mostly
individuals with serious criminal histories.

The Portcullis is the agency's mobile enforcement team used to
intercept what the border agency calls "inadmissible persons and
illegal contraband entering Canada."

CBSA spokesperson Adam Coultish said those busted risk having their
boats and contraband confiscated, but most of those caught don't lose
their pleasure boats when they pay the $1,000 fine per gun or drug
violation. The contraband is kept by the border service and then destroyed.

Border service agents have heard all the excuses imaginable,
especially people who claim they didn't know about Canada's weapons
and guns laws, Coultish said. "But we provide every traveller the
opportunity to say if they have them."

A lot of people don't tell, but generally act suspicious and cause the
marine border agents, well versed in where people hide illegal weapons
and contraband, to search for - and find - the illegal drugs and guns.

People who admit they are carrying weapons are generally sent back to
their side of the border where they can drop off their weapons before
sailing back to Canada, Coultish said. 
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