Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lie about gun gets trucker jail

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He was delivering a school bus to Canada and hoping to fly back to his southern U.S. home the next day.

But instead, Curtis Roberson will only be able to have Georgia on his mind after fibbing to border guards about a gun in his luggage on May 6.

Roberson was handed 45 days in jail this week after admitting he made a false statement to Canada Border Services Agency officers on May 6.

The 57-year-old professional truck driver explicitly told them he wasn't bringing any weapons into the country.

Metaphorically, Roberson dodged a bullet.

If RCMP had become involved, he faced the possibility of being hit with Criminal Code weapons charges carrying a mandatory three-year prison term.

Instead, he pleaded guilty after being charged under Canada's Customs Act.

Roberson drove up in the bus to the border crossing, telling guards "no" when they asked if he was transporting guns, provincial court Judge Fred Sandhu was told.

He also told them he'd been across the border a few weeks before but couldn't say where the crossing was.

CBSA officers picked up on "indicators of deception" that prompted them to do further checks into Roberson's background.

They uncovered a dated, and unproven, concealed-weapons charge from 1992.

It prompted CBSA guards to do an "officer-safety" search, court heard.

More questions were then aimed at Roberson about weapons.

"He claimed at this point that he owned a .22-calibre pistol, which is at home," Crown attorney Laura Perron said.

Evidence proving otherwise literally fell into the officers' laps: A revolver cylinder loaded with five rounds fell out of a pillow they took from his suitcase.

Soon after, the frame of a "mini-revolver" was also found, said Perron.

Roberson tried to explain the situation, saying he'd been given legal advice the gun wouldn't be considered one in Canada if it was in two pieces.

He'd purchased the weapon legitimately in Florida, said Perron.

Despite that, "he blatantly made a false report in saying he didn't have it," said Perron.

The prosecutor also questioned Roberson's claim he was to fly home to the U.S. the following day.

"It strikes me as odd that he'd be taking this back on an airplane," said Perron.

Roberson had urged Sandhu to set him free with a sentence of time served.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2014 A7

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