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Crossing the Border? Honesty Is The Best Policy With Border Agents

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 assault  convictions.

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.  

Officers are 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 Canada".

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 gr

Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 4/20/2014 3:09:28 PM
Source: Dori Modney -- Country 95 News with CBSA files

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