Drugs, guns and cash seizures in Richmond were among CBSA’s 2020 operational highlights
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has released its “operational and enforcement highlights” for 2020, featuring several drug and weapons busts at Richmond ports of entry.
“Despite the travel restrictions in place, we still had a busy year with various enforcement actions,” said Nina Patel, regional direction general for CBSA’s Pacific Region.
In a report released Dec. 10, the agency said that between January and October there were 10,686 drug seizures, 21,981 weapon seizures and 116 currency seizures.
Included in those numbers are four notable seizures in Richmond.
Drug, weapons seizures
In May, border services officers seized 1.4 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine at the Vancouver International Mail Centre at 5940 Ferguson Rd. According to CBSA, the suspected drugs were hidden within a shipment of toys and electronics and were discovered during an export exam.
Two notable seizures also took place at Vancouver International Airport Air Cargo.
In August, officers at that site examined a shipment declared as corn powder, grinded egusi – seeds from fruits such as squash, melon and gourds – and fish oil. In fact, the shipment contained 463.75 kg of the stimulant drug khat. CBSA said an additional 536 kg of khat was seized the next day from the same importer.
Then, in October, two shipments of heavy pieces of machinery were intercepted by CBSA airport air cargo officers, who discovered 18 bricks of suspected cocaine inside the machine parts. In total, the drugs weighed 6.5 kg and had an estimated value of $786,000.
Officers also seized undeclared weapons in Richmond.
In its enforcement highlights, CBSA states that the Metro Vancouver Marine Boat Team and Metro Vancouver Traveller Operations seized two long guns and two handguns from two travellers at the Steveston docks. The travellers had entered Canada by boat.
Another highlight, said CBSA, is the sentencing of a Richmond man who was involved in a human smuggling ring.
Michael Shun Lok Kong was sentenced in Richmond Provincial Court in January for smuggling 27 foreign nationals, including two unaccompanied minors, into Canada.
Meanwhile, in August, CBSA officers from the Vancouver International Airport Traveller Operations found over $16,000 during a currency verification check on a traveller who was about to board his flight to Europe.
The traveller had stated he was below the currency threshold, however, the money was found in his belongings and seized as suspected proceeds of crime.
2020 highlights from around the region
Between January and October, CBSA processed 4,688,599 people entering Canada, and denied entry to 8,905 travellers for reasons including international travel restrictions and immigration concerns.
Monetary penalties totalling $998,950 were also issued to commercial clients during that time period, according to CBSA.
Other 2020 busts highlighted by CBSA, that did not take place in Richmond, include:
- In February, border services officers at the Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility examined a container and discovered bags of white crystal. The CBSA laboratory confirmed the results were positive for methamphetamine. The drugs weighed 106 kilograms and the CBSA estimates its value to be approximately $13.5 million CAD.
- In May, border services officers at the Pacific Highway port of entry Commercial Operations conducted an examination on a commercial tractor-trailer and noticed anomalies. Twenty bricks of suspected cocaine were discovered, weighing approximately 20 kilograms in total, and estimated to be worth over $2.5 million CAD.
- In June, officers from the Vancouver Island Mobile Enforcement Team, Victoria Marine Operations and the Pacific Region Intelligence Section boarded a commercial vessel at Constance Bank Anchorage to perform an examination. Eleven individually wrapped packages of suspected cocaine were located and seized.
- In February, border services officers at the Paterson port of entry discovered a camouflaged pouch which contained a loaded prohibited .38 calibre pistol. The subject was arrested for smuggling a prohibited firearm into Canada and the firearm was seized.
- In April, four travellers transiting to Alaska declared three rifles and a pistol upon their arrival at the Pacific Highway port of entry. A secondary examination of their vehicle revealed additional undeclared firearms including handguns, long guns and military grade assault rifles, and 13 over-capacity magazines. Several of these handguns, as well as undeclared cash, were located within a hidden compartment in the vehicle.
- In June, the Vancouver Island Mobile Enforcement Team seized an undeclared semi auto pistol, a prohibited rifle, two overcapacity magazines and 230 grams of cannabis products from a fishing vessel in the Southern Gulf Islands.
- In June, border services officers performed a secondary examination on a motorhome entering Canada at the Kingsgate port of entry. Inside the motorhome were two prohibited handguns, personal amounts of various drugs and non-reported currency valued at $26,000 USD and 1 million Iraqi Dinar, all of which were seized. Border services officers also discovered non-reported hippo tusks and bear skulls, which were detained and referred to Environment and Climate Change Canada. The traveller has been charged under the Customs Act for smuggling, and under the Criminal Code of Canada for illegal possession of firearms.
- In July, officers at the Abbotsford-Huntingdon port of entry seized 14 firearms including four prohibited semi-automatic rifles (assault-style); three prohibited handguns; one restricted handgun; and six non-restricted long guns. The traveller had not declared the firearms and faced charges.