Winnipeg man faces $1M in fines for smuggling protected species


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WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg businessman has been convicted of smuggling protected coral rock, sea horses and giant clams into the city from Indonesia.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/12/2011 (4018 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg businessman has been convicted of smuggling protected coral rock, sea horses and giant clams into the city from Indonesia.

Jason Daeninck learned his fate Friday in what is believed to be the first case of its kind ever discovered in Manitoba. The owner of Salt Water Connection was found guilty of 18 charges under the federal Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.

He will return to court early next year for sentencing, where he faces potential fines in excess of $1 million plus the possibility of jail time.

Daeninck was arrested in 2007 after Canada Customs intercepted a shipment of 20,000 pounds of scleratinia rock in British Columbia. The rare type of rock is protected because it contains coral. It can only be imported or exported if an international permit is obtained, which wasn’t done here.

Investigators linked the shipment to Daeninck and executed a search warrant at his home and business on Henderson Highway. They learned Daeninck had been involved in other illegal shipments of sea horses and giant clams, which are also protected by the same regulations.

However, none of those items were recovered and officials believe they were brought into Canada and then sold on the black market.

Daeninck fought his case at trial, claiming he had actually ordered another type of rock which didn’t contain coral for the purpose of building a fence in Winnipeg, like one he’d seen on a visit to Indonesia. Daeninck claimed there must have been a mistake in the order and that he wasn’t responsible.

Provincial court Judge Ray Wyant rejected his version of events Friday, calling it “meek and unbelievable.” He said it’s clear Daeninck was playing “fast and loose” with international protected species so he could bolster his own business and “play with the big boys.”

Investigators uncovered evidence, largely through seized emails, that Daeninck was involved in creating duplicate sets of invoices to dupe customs officials about the true nature of some of his shipments.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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