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Clearing CUSTOMS Split from: BOOT REGULATIONS:

George Wallace

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Old Sweat said:
On the other side of the coin, because of the actions of more than a few individuals the army had a bad reputation for smuggling booze and smokes. Probably the most egregious, or at least the one I heard of involved 3 RCR, in 1973 Customs at Trenton opened a crate labelled "Platoon Stores" when clearing a chalk returning from an AMF(L) exercise in Norway. Instead of military kit the crate was full of illicit booze.

Side issue - the guys in the AMF(L) Battery developed a large dislike for the battalion because of the incident. You see, they had been told that because of an administrative glitch, there was no duty free alcohol available for them. It didn't take much to connect the dots.

A well known practice carried out by many military members who were serving OUTCAN for any period of time.  I remember hearing of an Argus returning from a Caribbean deployment doing 'Touch and Goes' at Summerside until they had dumped all their Rum into the bay as they had been forewarned that Canada Customs was awaiting their arrival. 
 

Eye In The Sky

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There is an urban legend about a motorcycle under a tarp in an Argus once that the skipper may/may not have known about.  :subbies:
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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More urban legends - from the Navy side this time:

Apparently, when HMCS BONAVENTURE went into its long refit in the mid-60's, the yard workers were trying to figure out some of the plans. On one of the decks, the plans showed two compartments (one of which was a Petty Officer's mess decks) side by side, but no matter how often they measured and re-measured, they were four feet short. That is until one of the mates noticed a bolted cover (one of those covers on ships that is bolted all around its perimeter) in the P.O.s mess which did not have a corresponding appearance in the adjoining mess deck. Upon examination, it was found that all the bolts but two were in fact false ones welded over and the two remaining were easy to unscrew by hand, giving access to a four foot by compartment width and height cofferdam that did not appear on any ship's plan  ;D. Guess where foreign acquired goods found themselves when coming back to Canada and until customs were cleared  :nod:.

On the disaster side of Canadian customs, however, Vancouver customs officers take the cake: I have never been able to come back to Canada through Vancouver without one problem or another. The most amazing one: in the early 80's, a friend of mine and I were coming back from a week-end in San Fransisco through Vancouver. My friend was one of those serious amateur photographer, and so, he had Haselbald cameras and lenses in their cases worth thousands of dollars hanging from his neck as we cleared custom one behind the other. He was just waved through after his declaration. Then it was my turn. I was asked to open my carry on luggage. One of the item in it was a 126 mm. worn out plastic camera (the very cheap ones, worth about $20.00) even marked "Direct Film (a Canadian company): I was asked if I could prove I had the Camera before I left !!!!!! I had to beg for them to not seize it , and they let me go with a serious warning to have it carded before I left Canada the next time. 
 

Blackadder1916

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Old Sweat said:
On the other side of the coin, because of the actions of more than a few individuals the army had a bad reputation for smuggling booze and smokes.  . . .

And not only smuggling booze.  Coming back from Ismailia in 1979, we overnighted in Lahr and had to clear customs there, normally a very easy operation.  Very early in the line was a soldier also repatting from Egypt.  When the customs officer asked him if he had anything to declare, he replied "no".  The customs agent asked again and he replied again, "no".  The question was put to him a third time and this time he was asked specifically if he had purchased anything during his six months away - gold, jewellery, leather goods, liquor, cigarettes,  souvenirs . . .- again he replied "no".  It seemed as if the agent was giving him an opportunity to declare any of the normal items that we brought back from tour and thus avoid slowing down the processing to conduct a search.  The agent then asked him to open his leather luggage (very obviously locally made in Egypt) and then it didn't take much searching to start finding jewellery, liquor, cigarettes . . . and the piece de resistance . . . a small brick of hashish.  The idiot was led away.  The rest of us who were wearing blue berets (including the ones who had already past through customs) were subjected to a more intense screening, including a search of all luggage.
 

ueo

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And the one about a very senior officers brand new top end Mercedes being jettisoned mid Atlantic due to an unforeseen mechanical problem. That and the fact that nobody really liked or respected him.
 

George Wallace

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ueo said:
And the one about a very senior officers brand new top end Mercedes being jettisoned mid Atlantic due to an unforeseen mechanical problem. That and the fact that nobody really liked or respected him.

Heard that story told differently.  Someone managed to talk a Herc crew in transporting his Trans Am across the Atlantic to Lahr, avoiding shipping costs and timelines.  Herc developed mechanical problems and crew jettisoned it, taking photos of it falling.  They handed the guy the film when they landed, after he asked where his car was.  Wonder if his insurance policy covered it?

Now to determine if any of those similar stories are true.
 

Blackadder1916

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ueo said:
And the one about a very senior officers brand new top end Mercedes being jettisoned mid Atlantic due to an unforeseen mechanical problem. That and the fact that nobody really liked or respected him.

Well, this is how his fellow ring knockers describe the outcome.
http://www.rmcclub.ca/eVeritas/2005/Issue012/200512King.htm
In 1989-90, while experiencing significant turmoil in both his professional and personal life he opted for early retirement and started his own company . . .
 

OldSolduer

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Eye In The Sky said:
We get treated the worst by our own.  Heck, I get treated better by the US people going thru Holten than I do coming back the other way!!

I had a great conversation in 2012 with CBSA folks if Vancouver in the Starbucks line. It turns out that one of the girls brother served with Mike in 2008. It's a small world.
 

AmmoTech90

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In the last sixteen months, I've got around a dozen re-entries to Canada through Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, with a similar rate over the last five years.  I have never had a problem with CBSA when travelling on either my official or blue passport.

I do see people have trouble at immigration, the problem hasn't ever started with the CBSA agent.  ::)
 

SupersonicMax

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I think we all have our horror stories with CBSA...  Like most, I never had issues with any other countries' customs officers.  After bringing a CF-18 back from Operation Mobile in 2011 at the end of my tour, I given the full meal deal search from CBSA (it was at a military base).  I only had 2 bottles of wine to declare but they insisted on opening all my bags and search them.  I had fun watching them open and search a bag full of dirty gitch.

Funny story.  A friend of mine brought a CF-18 back from an exercise in the USA.  He cleared customs at a civilian airport.  He was asked :  Did you bring any good you didn't have before you left.  He said "Yes, this F-18"  The CBSA asked him how much it was worth.  $50M my friend declared.  He received a letter in the mail a couple of weeks later saying he had to pay taxes and duties on the $50M CF-18 he had brought back from the USA.  Obviously he didn't have to!  But it was a funny letter to read nonetheless!

Having said that, when I travel to international airports (in civilian attire with blue or green passport), I never have any issues.
 

George Wallace

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AmmoTech90 said:
In the last sixteen months, I've got around a dozen re-entries to Canada through Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, with a similar rate over the last five years.  I have never had a problem with CBSA when travelling on either my official or blue passport.

I do see people have trouble at immigration, the problem hasn't ever started with the CBSA agent.  ::)

Usually the "guilty parties" look too "guilty" not to be more thoroughly questioned/searched.  [:D
 

Pusser

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I was on a UN mission in Haiti one summer and made several trips (in uniform) back and forth between Ottawa and Port au Prince, always clearing Customs in Montreal.  Haiti has a particularly good rum distillery (Barbancourt) and I always made a point of bringing some back with me.  On one occasion, I was asked by the Customs officer if I had anything to declare, and I responded that I had an extra bottle of rum.  He waived me through without charging me and told me I could have brought a whole a case and he wouldn't have cared. I should have gotten his name...
 

medicineman

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I haven't had issues with CBSA coming back off of a mission...Agriculture Canada on the other hand was the issue when I got back from Haiti in 2004.  Dude had a footwear fetish that held most of us up by a long time. 

MM
 

Pusser

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medicineman said:
I haven't had issues with CBSA coming back off of a mission...Agriculture Canada on the other hand was the issue when I got back from Haiti in 2004.  Dude had a footwear fetish that held most of us up by a long time. 

MM

We had a similar issue coming home from Bosnia in 2003.  We all had to march through the pink liquid.
 

George Wallace

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Pusser said:
We had a similar issue coming home from Bosnia in 2003.  We all had to march through the pink liquid.

Meanwhile, you had a pair or two of other boots packed in your kit that were not put through the pink liquid.  ;)

 

Colin Parkinson

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My favorite was crossing the US border on the way to Yakima with gun tractor and 105mm C2. Border guard asked "purpose of visit" I said "Invasion" he got all pissy, then his manager showed up, heard what happened, laughed, let me go and then scowled at the guard.

The guy who does the Chieftain video's for WOT I believe posted pictures of US soldiers having to put their M4's though the x-ray machine while going through security to board an aircraft. Having met many TSA types I am not surprised.
 

Gramps

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Here are a few things I have seen personally while on the road that had to be confiscated from passengers:
Switchblade and Butterfly knives - Prohibited by law in Canada
Alcoholic beverages at 90% alcohol content - Dangerous Goods according to all publications (TDG, IATA, ICAO etc.)
Fragmentation Grenades - Not forgotten in a tac vest, these were hidden in checked baggage as a souvenir and the person would have had a wonderful visit to a local Arabian Desert jail had he gotten past us.
Brass Knuckles - Prohibited by law in Canada.
So, other than FEDERAL regulations and the fact you may (or may not) pass though a commercial airport on your way somewhere, certain things may be taken at security screening for your protection as well.

Things I have seen that crated issues with CBSA:
Weapon components, explosives etc.- Self explanatory.
Various "supplements and narcotics" - Also self explanatory.
Motorcycles - Yes these were in crates and yes there was no proper documentation for them, CBSA was not pleased and rightly so.
A triwall of duty free alcohol shipped as cargo - A number of laws broken with this one but the people who shipped it were smart enough to write their names on each bottle which made it really easy for CBSA to track them down.

There are many other things I have seen over the years, some of which I will not post on a public site. I have personally witnessed or been the one to discover/confiscate each of the things listed above. Just because you wear a uniform does not mean you are above federal regulations and established safety standards.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I wish CBSA would actually read the definition of a "replica" firearm before confiscating items based on that. Also I seen the e-mails in a FOI request where they seized a whole whack of rifles my friend legally imported and had organized a media dog and pony show, when someone decided to check to see if there were permits, when they discovered he had all his permits, they had to cancel the media event about hour before it started. That did not help my already tainted view of them. 
 

captloadie

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Wrt the replica firearms, I remember from my time on deployment that the regulations were fairly strict in some respects. The weapon had to be made inoperable by a licensed, commercial gunsmith and provide a certificate I believe. Abdul from booth 27 wasn't deemed to have the required quals, and I think the CoC also ixnayed the gun plumbers from doing it on the side (because they couldn't provide the certificate).

For your friend who imported the weapons, was this entirely on the civilian side (meaning he didn't ship them in UAB or bring them back on a service flight)?

 

Colin Parkinson

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captloadie said:
Wrt the replica firearms, I remember from my time on deployment that the regulations were fairly strict in some respects. The weapon had to be made inoperable by a licensed, commercial gunsmith and provide a certificate I believe. Abdul from booth 27 wasn't deemed to have the required quals, and I think the CoC also ixnayed the gun plumbers from doing it on the side (because they couldn't provide the certificate).

For your friend who imported the weapons, was this entirely on the civilian side (meaning he didn't ship them in UAB or bring them back on a service flight)?

A deactivated firearm is different than a replica. One of the key elements for differences between a replica and Airsoft gun, is a replica is one that can not shoot any sort of projectile.
 
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