B.C. couple busted for smuggling tobacco at Osoyoos border

Merritt couple will have to pay a fine 50 times that of what would have been the duty owed

A Merritt couple twice caught smuggling tobacco from the U.S. across the Osoyoos border will have to pay a fine 50 times that of what would have been the duty owed.

Neil Timothy Shackelly and Dion Gwendolyn Aljam pleaded guilty in Penticton provincial court on Monday to charges related to two instances (Dec. 11, 2017 and Feb. 24, 2018) where they were caught lying to border guards, verbally stating they did not have any tobacco to declare.

Secondary inspections by border guards on both instances turned up various tobacco products, totalling 102 grams of loose tobacco and 6.608 kilograms of tobacco products. They were fined a total of $8,153.64.

Related: Osoyoos border gun smuggler sentenced

“There is a highly aggravating factor here that this would be your second folly, or second offence, of this nature in just a little over two months. So you were caught in December, you knew this was improper but you went back down and you did this again,” said Judge Michelle Daneliuk. “When you think about it, it is really something that is foolish to do when the duty owed was only $161. 70. Just paying the duty owed it was such a relatively small expense.”

The couple does not have a criminal history and while they had a “scoresheet” of who paid them what amount of money and for what quantity of tobacco, the court would not go as far as saying they were selling it to make a profit.

Related: Gun found in car at Osoyoos border

Defence counsel Norman Yates told the court that they were taking tobacco orders from people and did not realize they would get into the trouble that they did.

Crown counsel Jeremy Burgess said the couple was flagged after they were first discovered on a secondary inspection to have lied to border guards. Just over two months later they were again at the Osoyoos port of entry after a day trip to Omak and were sent to secondary inspection after not declaring any tobacco purchases.

The officer discovered tobacco products in the vehicle and Shackelly, who is a member of the Nooatch First Nations, told the border guard it was his and he had bought the tobacco on “Indian territory and there should be no duty or taxes on it.”

Daneliuk ordered the couple to pay the minimum fine of $1,826.82 each for the two false declarations of unstamped tobacco products, $1,750 each for smuggling goods across the border and another $500 each for the second attempt to bring undeclared goods across the border.

The couple have 12 months to pay the fines.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Truck rollover west of Sicamous disrupts traffic for hours

The evening rollover on May 25 temporarily halted highway traffic near the Bernie Road intersection.

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Photos: Over 80 competitors took part in 3D Archery Shoot

The event is hosted by the Salmon Arm Fish and Game Club

Girl, 9, out of ICU after carbon monoxide poisoning in Shuswap tent

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Severe thunderstorm watch

Environment Canada forecasts thunder, cloud and rain for one more day

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Okanagan group offers suggestions on overdose prevention site

Downtown Vernon Association agrees proposed facility should be near Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Brothers acquired land at entrance to Garnet Valley

Name of Summerland valley and lake does not match spelling of family name.

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Most Read