COUTTS: Canada Border Agents didn't find any guns hidden in camper toilets among
vehicles coming through Coutts in July (a situation that did happen this past
spring) but, they did find a gun hidden in a motorhome bed (photo above). Weapons
weren't the only things that kept CBSA agents busy in July.
Alberta's largest border crossing processed almost 24,840-vehicles,
14,128-commercial trucks and 76,822-people. Of that number, 168-people were
denied entry for lack of documents or previous criminal activity. That doesn't
include five men who were refused entry at Carway and Chief Mountain for sexual
It's safe to say Border Agents have seen and heard everything, just by
virtue of the sheer volume they have to process. It's amazing the ways, means and
excuses used in attempts to cheat the system. There are numerous incidents that
stand out, including one in which a man didn't declare all his purchases when returning
to Canada. When caught in the lie, he told a border agent he didn't think he had
to declare merchandise he wasn't satisfied with.
While most people know they need specific personal identification when
crossing the border, there are still issues some travelers are bit fuzzy about.
For example, there are regulations governing travel with minors.
always watching for missing or abducted children. CBSA spokesperson, Lisa
White, says you should be prepared when border officers ask questions about
children you're traveling with. She gets specific, "We recommend that parents
or legal guardians who may be traveling alone with a child, have proper
permission - it could be a written letter with additional contact information -
from one parent or guardian to another - stating that a child has permission to
travel with the adult they are accompanying". You should also indicate where
you are traveling to and how long the child will be out of the country. White
notes, "Unless border guards are satisfied you have permission to travel with a
particular child, you may not be allowed entry the U-S or re-entry
While weapons, drugs, child porn and undeclared purchases are the bulk of
boarder concerns, agents also look for money. Canadian law states anyone coming
into the country with cash, cheques or money orders over $10-thousand has to
report it. White says it's part of the money laundering and terrorist financing
act and they want to make sure the money you carry is legitimate. Failure to
declare the value could lead to seizure of your money. If you win more than
$10,000 in Vegas or at a casino and bring it home, just be honest and declare
it. That way, there's no fine or seizure.
The old adage "Honesty is the best policy" is definitely applicable with a
wide array of items at the border. But, Some people aren't being honest about
the purchase price in order to save on GST. On July 19th, a man came back
to Canada with a car he said he'd bought for $7000. Customs found the car cost
$10,000. The man got a mandatory penalty of $1586. If he'd been honest, the
extra GST would only cost $150. In some cases, under-valuing a vehicle leads to
prosecution and a criminal record.
Being dishonest at the border was an expensive proposition for a lot of
travelers at the border last month. The following is just a sample of the
situations Border agents dealt with in July:
On July 3, three U.S. men traveling in a motor-home were sent for
further examination when officers suspected the presence of firearms,
although none were declared. CBSA officers found a
loaded 45 automatic Glock 21 pistol underneath the bed of the motor-home and 9.4