Canada Border Services Agency officers seized 20 bricks of suspected cocaine from a northbound commercial vehicle at the Pacific Highway border May 1. (CBSA photo)

Canada Border Services Agency officers seized 20 bricks of suspected cocaine from a northbound commercial vehicle at the Pacific Highway border May 1. (CBSA photo)

CBSA releases enforcement highlights of 2020, featuring Surrey busts

List includes $2.5 million drug bust at Pacific Highway crossing

The Canada Border Services Agency has shared “enforcement highlights” from 2020, which included several busts at Surrey ports of entry.

In a news release issued Dec. 10, CBSA drew attention to a discovery of $2.5 million worth of suspected cocaine at the Pacific Highway port of entry last May.

“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,” the release said.

RELATED: Suspected cocaine seized at South Surrey border

And in September of this year, CBSA said its Pacific Region Criminal Investigation Section laid 113 charges against six individuals for “misrepresentation offences under the (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) and an additional 11 counts pursuant to the Criminal Code against one of those individuals for firearm offences.”

In April, four travellers transiting to Alaska declared three rifles and a pistol upon their arrival at the Pacific Highway port of entry, CBSA said.

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 the handguns, as well as undeclared cash, were located within a hidden compartment in the vehicle.

Other busts highlighted, that did not take place in the South Surrey area, 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 kg and the CBSA estimates its value to be approximately $13.5 million.

– In May, border services officers at the Vancouver International Mail Centre seized 1.4 kg of suspected methamphetamine hidden within a shipment of toys and electronics during an export exam.

– 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 August, Vancouver International Airport Air Cargo officers examined a shipment declared as corn powder, grinded egusi and fish oil. A closer examination revealed 463.75 kg of Catha Edulis, also known as “khat.” An additional 536 kg of khat was seized the next day from the same importer.

– In October, Vancouver International Airport Air Cargo officers intercepted two shipments of heavy pieces of machinery. Officers noticed anomalies and upon closer examination, discovered 18 bricks of suspected cocaine inside the machine parts. The drugs weighed 6.5 kg and are estimated to be valued at $786,000 CAD.

Guns and weapons

– 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 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 US$26,000 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, Metro Vancouver Traveller Operations and the Metro Vancouver Marine Boat Team attended Steveston docks in Richmond, and seized undeclared firearms including three long guns and two hand guns from two travellers that entered Canada by boat.

– 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.

From January to October 2020, CBSA processed 4,688,599 people entering Canada, while not allowing entry to 8,905 travellers for various reasons including international travel restrictions and immigration concerns.

During that time period, the officers made 10,686 drug seizures in the pacific region, 21,981 weapon seizures and 116 currency seizures.

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