Border control busy with firearms smugglers

Okanagan and Kooteney border patrol made 30 seizures of firearms and weapons between Jan. 1 and Jun 22, 2014.

OSOYOOS - Two men have been charged in separate cases for smuggling firearms and weapons across the Canada-U.S. border at Osoyoos and Cascade ports of entry.

Osoyoos border officers arrested Cole Phillips after they seized a loaded .45 caliber handgun from a U.S. resident’s vehicle during a secondary exam on July 21. Phillips was charged with smuggling, possessing a restricted firearm, and possessing a loaded firearm. His fire court appearance is today at the Penticton Courthouse.

The firearm was seized and will not be returned to Phillips who was released on $2,000 cash bail. The vehicle was also seized and realized upon payment of $1,500.

At the Cascade border on July 21, two loaded handguns and five magazines were found under the sleeping bed of a travel trailer during a vehicle exam. The traveller was arrested and is now facing charges.

Both firearms, ammunition and the vehicle were seized. The vehicle was released after payment of a $2,000 fine. A $500 fine was paid for his release on the condition he appear in court when summoned.

That same day, Randon Woolsey Lewis pled guilty to smuggling firearms back on July 21, 2013. He did not declare firearms to border officers at the Kingsgate crossing, yet officers found and seized three unloaded handguns, one taser and taser cartridges in his vehicle.

Lewis pleaded guilty to smuggling and unauthorized possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000 and a $750 victim surcharge. The seized items will not be returned to him. There is a $3,500 fine to have his vehicle returned.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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