Smuggled cheese leads to $30,000 fine

From: Canada Border Services Agency

May 27, 2019 Lansdowne, Ontario Canada Border Services Agency

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced today that a traveller was found guilty of attempting to smuggle cheese into Canada through the Lansdowne (Thousand Islands) port of entry.

The driver pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 9, 2019, in court in Brockville, Ontario. He was convicted and sentenced to a Can$30,000 fine that he must pay within five years, with a minimum payment of Can$1,000 each year.

On January 10, 2018, 50-year-old Haissam Azaar entered Canada and was referred for a secondary examination. During the exam, officers discovered eight skids of undeclared cheese, totalling approximately 3,990 kg. He was arrested and charged with smuggling under section 159 of the Customs Act.

The CBSA reminds all travellers to truthfully declare all goods when entering Canada. Failure to report all goods, undervaluation and other Customs Act contraventions may lead to seizure action and/or criminal prosecution in a court of law.

Additional multimedia

Different sorts of cheese found in the boxes.
Eight skids of undeclared cheese found in a truck, totalling approximately 3,990 kg.

“Seizures like this serve as a reminder of the vital role CBSA officers play in preventing risks to Canada’s food safety as well as contributing to Canada’s economic security.”

– Darren Frank, CBSA St. Lawrence District Director

Quick facts

    • The Customs Act stipulates that all goods entering Canada must be declared to the CBSA. Smuggling, untrue statements and other Customs Act violations may lead to prosecution in a court of law.
    • All goods entering Canada must be accurately reported to the CBSA and may be subject to a more in-depth exam.

    • Officers look for indicators of deception and use a risk management approach in determining which goods may warrant a closer look.

    • If you do not declare goods, or if you falsely declare them, CBSA officers can seize them. This means that you may lose the goods permanently or may have to pay a penalty (ranging from 25% to 80% of the value of the seized items) to get them back.

      Anyone with information about suspicious cross-border activity is encouraged to call the CBSA Border Watch toll-free line at 1-888-502-9060.

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