The Canada Border Services Agency had a busy 2017, as they continued to fulfill their mandate to protect the borders of the country. Here in Saskatchewan, they are expected to have processed more than 650,000 for the year by midnight Sunday. With such a high number of travelers coming into the country, they had a fair number of instances where they were required to take action.
Across the ports of entry in southern Saskatchewan, they seized 25 undeclared firearms. Nearly two-thirds of those were handguns.
On June 16th, officers at Coronach seized a loaded handgun from a suspected impaired driver. The Montana man was handed over to the RCMP. He did pay a $1,000 penalty for failing to declare the weapon but was denied entry into Canada.
CBSA officers are also tasked with disrupting the flow of illegal drugs into Canada. They made 80 seizures at border crossings in 2017, the biggest of which was in December at the Regway crossing. Officers there stopped a commercial vehicle headed to Regina and found 694 grams of suspected doda, a narcotic made from the crushed pods of the opium poppy. The driver was arrested and then turned over to the RCMP.
Officers were also involved with the RCMP in April in regards to human smuggling over the border. A women was arrested with nine people in a van, and her husband was taken into custody south of the border for similar activities. That investigation has since been left fully to the RCMP.
Part of the job of the CBSA is determining the admissibility of people into Canada. In August, again at the port of Regway, officers denied entry to two registered sex offenders. They were allowed to return to the United States. The convictions the two had included aggravated sexual assault of a child.
“As a professional law enforcement agency, the CBSA in Saskatchewan is unwavering in its commitment to serve and protect Canadians,” explained Guy Rook, director of the Southern Albert and Southern Saskatchewan District. “We take great pride in knowing that by securing the border, we are making our communities safer.”
"It's been a great year, and looking ahead to 2018, our officers will continue to exercise due diligence, and ensure that only admissible people and goods are allowed into the country," added spokesperson Lisa White.
She noted that it is hard to compare the number of occurrences year to year as they fluctuate, and predicting that for the next year can be just as difficult. However, the number of travelers crossing the border has pretty much remained steady from 2016.