Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Would-be prospector fined $9K after guns found at Emerson border crossing
He was hoping to pass through Canada on the road to what he hoped would be his piece of the Alaskan gold rush.
But a North Carolina man claimed anything but riches after being caught having stashed two handguns inside a large trailer.
David Blankenship, 42, spent three days in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre and was fined $8,900 this week.
He admitted to breaching Canada's Customs Act by making a false statement and failing to report having the guns at the Emerson crossing on the afternoon of May 27.
He was due to be escorted back to the border and removed from Canada upon payment of the fine.
Canada Border Services agency officers recovered a .38-calibre handgun hidden in a boot and a loaded Glock .40-calibre pistol underneath the seat of an ATV on the trailer.
Blankenship was a passenger in a vehicle with three other men on their way to camp in Alaska and prospect for gold, court heard.
He initially told border guards there were no weapons, but later changed his tune when a dog was brought in to search the trailer.
"I didn't want to travel without a gun on my hip," he told officers after the guns were found and seized.
It was Blankenship's first trip into Canada. He legally owned the guns, Judge Kelly Moar heard.
The married father of two had no prior record.
"I'm going to find out what the laws are where I go when I go and do it the right way," Blankenship told Moar.
"Never again will I do anything like this."
Updated on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 3:09 PM CDT: Clarifies admission.
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