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Bail expected for U.S. major charged with smuggling weapons

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A major with the U.S. Air Force is expected to be released from custody later today or Wednesday after being arrested June 26 for smuggling guns into Canada.

Maj. Christopher Doyle Sanders, 46, is facing several charges of smuggling under the Customs Act and weapons charges after he was stopped at the Emerson border crossing June 26.

Provincial court Judge Dale Schille agreed earlier this afternoon to a joint recommendation from Crown and defence counsel for Sanders’ release.

The conditions of Sanders’ release include: a $25,000 deposit to the court before he can be released; Sanders must reside at the Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Sanders’ commanding officer must contact the CBSA twice a month to confirm Sanders is residing at the base; Sanders must either agree to be sentenced, or set a date for trial, by Jan. 22, 2014.

A representative of the U.S. consulate and officials from Tinker Air Force Base were also in court.

The Canada Border Services Agency said at the time that Sanders’ arrest involved the largest seizure of firearms, ammunition and prohibited weapons at Emerson in recent history.

Sanders and another individual were crossing into Manitoba at Emerson. The driver of the vehicle had declared 10 long guns but a search uncovered: six hand guns, four knives, two pairs of brass knuckles, and 117 over-capacity ammunition magazines.

There was a ban on publication of evidence presented to the court.

A media spokesman from Tinker Air Force base said that Sanders was on his way to Winnipeg at the time of this arrest.

Tinker Air Force spokesman Darren Heusell said that Sanders had recently been posted to Winnipeg, where he was to be assigned as a staff officer with the 1st Canadian Air Operations Centre.

Prior to his posting to Winnipeg, Sanders was assigned to the 964th Airborne Air Control Squad, part of the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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