Alex Louie has 477 days of jail time left to serve after being sentenced on five charges, related to smuggling handguns across the border in Osoyoos.
Louie, a 50 year old Oliver man who goes by the name Senk’lip, was found guilty by a jury in October, and sentenced on Monday at the Penticton courthouse. Justice Arne Silverman issued the mandatory minimum sentence of three years, which was reduced by 618 days due to entitled credit for time served while awaiting trial.
Senk’lip had entered the U.S. on Jan. 31, 2017 and acquired two handguns. Arriving at the Canadian border at Osoyoos on Feb. 1 around 1:30 a.m., the Canada Border Service Agents had conducted a secondary inspection of his vehicle. The CBSA had earlier received a confidential tip that someone would be attempting to bring guns across the border illegally, prompting them to stop and search every vehicle that crossed.
Upon a thorough search of his vehicle, it was found that two Hi-Point CF-380 handguns were tied to the undercarriage of Senk’lip’s vehicle with wire. It was determined that the wire had been bought the evening before he had crossed.
Senk’lip said he had been in the U.S. for seven hours and denied having any firearms or weapons in the vehicle. Officers also found two boxes of ammunition, one of which was determined by the CBSA to fit the calibre and make of the handguns found under the vehicle.
Senk’lip, had attempted to argue the court had no jurisdiction over him as an Indigenous man on unceded territory, but Justice Silverman shot that argument down before the trial began. Silverman again had to remind Senk’lip, who did not have a lawyer throughout the proceedings and opted to represent himself, of this during the sentencing as he argued the same points.
“There’s no doubt that aboriginal rights should remain constitutionally protected in this country, but those are superseded by the rights of this country, or any country, to protect itself from certain harms. Protecting our borders is one of them and certainly protecting our borders from people bringing guns over them,” said Silverman.
Senk’lip, who has no prior record, was sentenced on two counts of unauthorized import/export firearms, two counts of possession of a firearm without licence and/or registration and making a false or deceptive statement regarding the import of goods. Four other charges were stayed following the conclusion of the jury trial.
Aggravating factors in Silverman’s sentencing included the pre-mediatation of the act of bringing the guns across the border and that they were handguns, which are more easily concealed and transported. Senk’lip was also handed a 10 year ban on possessing weapons and a mandatory lifetime ban on possessing prohibited firearms.
Silverman said if it was a non-Indigenous person under the same circumstances he would have sentenced them to four years in prison but he took into consideration Senk’lip’s background and multi-generational issues as required by law.
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