Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

3rd American charged with bringing guns through Emerson crossing

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Emerson, Man. is a high traffic point for Manitobans entering the U.S.

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Emerson, Man. is a high traffic point for Manitobans entering the U.S. Photo Store

Border guards at Manitoba's Emerson crossing have arrested yet another U.S. citizen and charged her for allegedly bringing firearms into Canada — the third such arrest so far this summer.

The latest arrest came Sunday when Rita Jean Shepard of Florida was taken into custody and hit with charges under the Customs Act, provincial court documents show.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) alleges Shepard, 63, tried to bring a prohibited automatic handgun into the country, failed to report she had the weapon and made a false statement to a CBSA officer about it.

Shepard remains in custody and has yet to apply for bail after making several routine court appearances this week.

The CBSA didn't disclose her arrest.

A source said Shepard had been travelling in the U.S. and may have simply forgotten about the gun when the time came to enter Canada.

If that proves true, it would be similar to the recent case of David Bastian, an Illinois man arrested by the CBSA in May.

Bastian, a licenced gun-owner in his home state, says he came to Canada to attend a traditional aboriginal ceremony on a Manitoba reserve.

The 41-year-old's plans fell apart, however, after the CBSA says they found a loaded Glock pistol and extra magazines in a gun case in his trunk.

Bastian spent several days in custody before being granted bail and allowed to return home pending trial.

Weeks after Bastian's arrest, border officials came upon another weapons seizure — one they described as the largest in recent memory.

CBSA investigators said they seized six handguns, four knives, brass knuckles and 117 over-capacity magazines after a motorist rolled up to the border and declared 10 long guns.

Maj. Christopher Doyle Sanders, 46, faces numerous charges. Just under a month later Sanders was granted bail to go and live at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma provided he leave a $25,000 deposit with the court.

Sanders is due back in Winnipeg by Jan. 22, 2014 to signal how he plans to deal with his case.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @heyjturner

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