A South Carolina trucker is paying a fine and is unable to return to Canada after prohibited and restricted weapons were found in his truck after lying to border agents in Osoyoos.
Marion Furman Taylor Jr., 55, was sentenced to pay a fine of $7,500 after pleading guilty to charges of making a false statement at the border, possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm and possession unauthorized overcapacity magazines in Penticton Provincial Court on Sept. 12.
Taylor Jr., a U.S. citizen with no prior record in Canada or the U.S., was hauling a load of canoes and kayaks into Canada with his business partner for a U.S. company, Landstar Rover Inc. on April 3. After an initial inspection by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employee, the tractor-trailer was given a secondary inspection after Taylor Jr. told border security there were no firearms to declare in the vehicle.
In a duffel bag located under the bottom bunk of the sleeper cab border agents found a loaded Beretta PX Storm pistol, three loaded, overcapacity magazines, a box of 50 rounds of .38 ammunition and a loaded .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver. Also located in the truck were two canisters of mace, a canister of bear spray as well as a switchblade, which are prohibited items in Canada. Taylor Jr. admitted he was the owner of the weapons to border agents after confronted and he was arrested and eventually released — paying $7,000 for the release of his truck.
“It can be taken into account to some extent that the laws in the United States with respect to firearms are significantly different than the laws in Canada. That being said, when Mr. Taylor arrived at the border crossing, I submit, ought to have known that he couldn’t possess those weapons in Canada,” said Crown counsel Ashleigh Baylis.
Taylor Jr.’s counsel Nelson Selemaj argued for an absolute discharge, calling the incident a foolish mistake that would not be repeated by his client — noting that trips to Canada amount to good business for he and his business partner.
Taylor Jr. told the court he had no malicious intent and simply forgot the weapons were in his vehicle, as they were legal for him to possess in the U.S., and as he approached the border it was too late to turn back.
“My intention of having guns in America, with all the things that can happen in America, even though I’d never want to shoot or hurt somebody, I would shoot the weapon to scare them away, as something of a last resort,” Taylor Jr. said. “I sincerely forgot, I forgot all about the guns. When we got up to the border I saw the signs that said guns. Guns, knives, whatever and I turned and said I don’t remember if we took them out. I couldn’t back up, I couldn’t turn around or do anything.”
Judge Meg Shaw believed that Taylor Jr. did not intend to smuggle the weapons into Canada for sale or in connection to more serious offences, but it didn’t take away from the seriousness of the offence.
“I find he has shown remorse and I find it unlikely he will be in trouble with the law again,” said Judge Meg Shaw, however she added she could not grant the discharge.
“It’s extremely serious in Canada to bring guns into this country,” Shaw said.
Taylor Jr. was also given a 10-year firearms prohibition in Canada.