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

Penticton sets cap of 14 cannabis stores, removes buffer zone

The city previously relied on a buffer zone and scoring matrix to limit number of stores

Bucking bulls return to Okanagan raceway Sunday

Bull Riders Canada returns to the South Okanagan with some of the top riders in Canada

Gucci Mane’s May concert in South Okanagan likely postponed to later date

South Okanagan Events Centre marketing manager awaits official confirmation from promoter

Advocate says Penticton bylaw targeting less fortunate

Kristine Shepherd is the community organizer for Monday Night Dinners in Nanaimo Square

Easier to use website and registration coming for Recreation Penticton activities

Penticton upgrading recreation software it uses to manage client memberships, passes and programs

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

North Okanagan tests out two $10/day childcare sites

Katrine Conroy came to Vernon to tour universal child care prototype sites, including the one at Maven Lane

Okanagan medical cannabis shop shutting doors

Herb’s Health Centre has been operating without a city business licence for nearly a year

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Witness says Kelowna man on trial for murder admitted to the killing

Steven Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read