American convicted of human trafficking case receives prison term

The owner of an inn near Blaine who helped smuggle foreign nationals into Canada has been sentenced to jail and probation.

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The owner of a bed and breakfast in Blaine who helped smuggle foreign nationals into Canada was sentenced to jail and 30 months probation.

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In August, Robert Joseph Boule, 72, owner of Smuggler’s Inn, pleaded guilty to one violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and one count of breaching his bond.

The immigration offense involved helping seven foreign nationals – from Afghanistan and Syria – enter Canada without an appropriate U.S. visa, from May 2018 to March 2019.

The foreign nationals, mostly adult males but comprising several families, had traveled from various locations in the United States to Washington State, where they met Boule. They paid Boule between $ 200 and $ 700 each, who then helped them enter Canada.

Although seven were named in Boule’s indictment, a total of 11 actually entered Canada.

Boule was on bail for similar offenses at the time and was charged with violating these bail conditions when he helped more people cross the border from his Washington state hostel, located near Zero Avenue, Surrey. The initial charges against him were stayed by the Crown.

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Imposing her sentence on Friday, BC Supreme Court Justice Nitya Iyer said she viewed Boule’s immigration offense as being on the lower end of the spectrum.

Boule had helped people cross the border through his facility, but his assistance was not sophisticated, the judge said after two days of sentencing by the Crown and the defense.

The offender had failed to search for the foreign nationals, charged them “relatively modest” fees and made no arrangements for them after crossing the border, the judge said.

All foreign nationals were arrested on arrival in Canada and subsequently made refugee claims and remain in the country.

The judge sentenced Boule to a suspended sentence and 15 months probation for the immigration offense.

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She considered the breach of his bail to be more serious and sentenced him to 30 days in jail, but said that amounted to time served since he had already spent some time in custody after his arrest. The judge also imposed 30 months probation for the bail violation, to be served concurrently.

The Crown had requested a jail term of 12 to 15 months followed by a period of probation while the defense initially argued for a conditional sentence to be served in the community, but later claimed that a sentence conditional sentence was more appropriate.

Boule’s bail conditions include keeping the peace and being of good behavior, residing in his hostel, and no longer helping anyone enter Canada illegally.

In a brief statement to the court, Boule, who has numerous health issues, apologized for his actions.

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“When I make a mistake, I try to take responsibility for it. In this case, I made a big mistake. This is why I plead guilty. I am sorry for the court, the citizens and the Government of Canada.

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