Gun smuggling costs American at Osoyoos border

Bringing loaded handgun into Canada has cost an American man both the firearm and a $7,500 fine.

Trying to sneak a loaded handgun into Canada has cost an American man both the firearm and a $7,500 fine.

A lawyer for Cole Reid Phillips, 21, pleaded guilty on his behalf Monday in provincial court in Penticton to the criminal offence of possession of a restricted weapon and the Customs Act offence of smuggling.

Court heard Phillips, a student from Phoenix, Ariz., was pulled aside for secondary inspection on July 21 while attempting to cross into Canada by car at Osoyoos.

Phillips told a Canada Border Services Agency officer he had ammunition in his vehicle, but not a gun, which raised suspicions, said Crown counsel Ashleigh Baylis.

The secondary inspection then turned up a loaded .45-calibre handgun and two magazines in the glove box of his car.

Baylis said Phillips later told CBSA officers that attitudes towards guns “are different in Arizona. It’s a different mentality.”

While Phillips faced a fine of up to $50,000 or six months in jail, Baylis suggested the minimal effort taken to hide the weapon was a mitigating factor for the judge to consider.

“It’s not a situation where he was driving a vehicle with a concealed department,” Baylis said, noting that Phillips nonetheless lied to officers at first.

Defence counsel Don Skogstad, who told the court his client wasn’t allowed into Canada to attend court, said Phillips was en route to Whistler for a hastily arranged mountain biking trip at the time and didn’t think to leave his gun at home.

In addition to the $7,500 fine imposed by Judge Greg Koturbash, Phillips is also liable for a $750 victim fine surcharge, bringing the total to $8,250.

When it announced his arrest in July, CBSA also noted Phillips was required to pay $1,500 for the return of his car, which was seized while he spent one night in custody while awaiting a bail hearing.

Skogstad said the $8,250 is being held in trust by his office and the fines will be paid in full.


Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read