Feds have seized nearly 70,000 'suspicious' firearm parcels since 2018

Border agents seized 1,203 firearms and more than 24,400 prohibited weapons last year along the border. Although such seizures have fallen to 1,034 firearms in 2023, that still represents a significant hike from between 500 to 750 firearms in recent years.

Feds have seized nearly 70,000 'suspicious' firearm parcels since 2018
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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As part of a federal crackdown on gun smugglers, Canada’s border agents have reportedly seized tens of thousands of firearm parts since 2018.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, 68,338 of 71,003 seizures by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) occurred via the country’s national postal service.

"Ninety-six percent of Canada Border Services Agency firearm seizures which include parts, magazines and ammunition occurred in the postal mode," said the report Evaluation Of The Detector Dog Service Program. The figures, spanning from 2018 to 2022, are the first on gun smuggling into Canada from the United States.

Under the Canada Post Corporation Act, only postal inspectors can intercept suspicious packages in transit. However, the Senate on June 6 gave Second Reading to Bill S-256, An Act To Amend The Canada Post Corporation Act, to permit law enforcement to intercept suspicious parcels.

"Traffickers have spread the word that there is much less risk of their packages being intercepted if they send them through Canada Post rather than through any other private courier company such as FedEx, UPS, Purolator or DHL," Senator Claude Carignan, sponsor of Bill S-256, told the Senate.

"This bill will finally close the loophole that traffickers have been exploiting in the Canada Post Corporation Act," he said, noting it does not apply to other courier companies as "traffickers prefer to do business with Canada Post."

Among the Canadians who opted not to traffic firearms through the postal service is Alberta man Joby Stuart Bishop, who tried to smuggle contraband at a border crossing in Osoyoos, B.C. late last year.

According to CBSA, Bishop tried to smuggle three over-capacity gun magazines on December 28, 2022. Border agents uncovered the contraband after a "secondary examination," prompting his arrest and a subsequent investigation.

Bishop pleaded guilty on October 5 in Penticton provincial court, receiving a $7,500 fine and a two-year firearms prohibition.

As reported by CTV News, CBSA seized 1,203 firearms and more than 24,400 prohibited weapons last year along the border. Although such seizures have fallen to 1,034 firearms in 2023, that still represents a significant hike from between 500 to 750 firearms in recent years.

Officials seized 250 firearms in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, according to the most recent data.

As reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, Cabinet is unaware of how many of those guns are smuggled into Canada by road, rail or marine freight. 

"The total number of firearms successfully smuggled into Canada is unknown," the Department of Public Safety wrote in a 2022 briefing note Efforts To Address Firearms Smuggling And Trafficking.

"Canadians want their government to reduce gun violence and we are taking bold action to limit criminal access to firearms," it said. "We are providing the Canada Border Services Agency with the tools and resources needed to combat smuggling and trafficking, such as X-ray machines, parcel scanners and detector dogs."

The Evaluation report said detector dogs cost $7.7 million annually and proved effective in frightening smugglers, who admitted to carrying prohibited or regulated goods in some cases.

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