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

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

Vernon nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Caravan Farm Theatre holds outlaw themed fundraiser

Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its western outlaw themed fundraiser, Hands Up! June 1

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Middle Eastern poetry comes to Vernon

The event is at the Caetani Centre on May 25

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

South Okanagan search and rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Vernon Gallery features four new exhibitions

Opening reception takes place at the Vernon Public Art Gallery from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., admission by donation

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

Most Read