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Restricted travel during pandemic not keeping drugs, guns, dirty money out of B.C.

Last Updated Dec 20, 2020 at 10:01 pm PDT

(Courtesy canada.ca/en/border-services-agency)

Millions of dollars worth of drugs and weapons have been intercepted this year

More than 8,900 hundred travellers were kept from entering Canada between January and October

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) — Despite COVID-19, it’s been a busy year for the Canada Border Services Agency.

It’s reporting millions of dollars worth of drugs and weapons have been intercepted this year, even with a significant drop in traffic through the country’s largest marine port and second-largest airport.

Nuvin Runghen, a CBSA officer with the canine unit at Vancouver International Airport, says there’s no shortage of would-be smugglers who mistakenly believe they can outsmart authorities.

“It’s been business as usual — pandemic or not. There are complex challenges that come along with the pandemic, but the fact of the matter is the Canadian border has not been closed.”

Even with air and land travel dropping more than 90 per cent compared to 2019, millions of dollars worth of drugs have been intercepted at YVR, including 18 bricks of cocaine found hidden inside machine part shipments in October.

Runghen adds drugs and weapons are not the only contraband getting intercepted.

“The CBSA has played an active role in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Desperate times require desperate measures. We are really committed to limiting the spread of COVID-19 imposing a major threat to our Canadians.”

From January through October, more than 8,900 travellers have been kept from entering Canada.

Runghen says Michael Shun Lok Kong, a man who tried to sneak 27 foreign nationals into the country (including two unaccompanied minors) is now in prison.

“Our Pacific Regional criminal investigation managed to intercept a human smuggling ring that were trying to enter Canada, so this person was sentenced in Richmond.”

Six-hundred-and-nine foreign nationals, including three convicted murderers, have also been removed from Canada by the Pacific Region Inland Enforcement Section.