British Columbia judge, Robert Hamilton granted bail to a US inn owner facing 21 charges related to smuggling several migrants illegally into Canada.
Robert Joseph Boulé, who owns the Smuggler’s Inn in Blaine, Washington, was charged with violating Canada’s Criminal Code and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, including Section 117 (1) of the act which states:
“No person shall organize, induce, aid or abet the coming into Canada of one or more persons knowing that, or being reckless as to whether, their coming into Canada is or would be in contravention of this Act.”
Those convicted for the crime of “aiding and abetting” illegal entry into Canada can face a fine of $500,000 and up to ten years imprisonment for their crimes.
69 year old Boulé’s bail conditions allow him to return to the United States if he posts $15,000 and meets 16 conditions imposed on him by the Canadian court.
Before returning to the US, Boulé is required to meet the following three conditions:
- Cancel all personal or business telephone numbers and emails. Boulé is also required to provide his bail supervisor with the password to his business email address and ensure that a record of all communications is maintained.
- Erect a 4 by 8 foot sign 10 feet from the Canadian border that is illuminated at night which reads: Warning: it is illegal to enter Canada directly from this property, the owner of this property is bound by a court order to report to Canadian authorities the identity of anyone who enters Canada illegally from this property.
- Boulé must not advertise any phone number online associated with his business.
Legally there is nothing stopping Boulé from never returning to Canada to face trial after he has crossed the border back into the US. Boulé’s actions are not considered a crime in the US.
Some of the other conditions also require Boulé to send a photograph of the sign to his supervisor each week, his business must make copies of each guest’s ID, and he must report anyone he suspects of wishing to cross into Canada illegally to the proper authorities.
Officials believe that Boulé facilitated several crossings through his business property.
The Smuggler’s Inn is located directly on the Canada-US border. Only a line of boulders along Boulé’s property indicates the crossing. Directly beside the bed and breakfast lies “0 Avenue,” a BC road stretching from Surrey to Abbotsford.
According to the judge, Boulé does not have the sum required to meet the bail but he has claimed that the community of Blaine would fundraise the funds for his release.