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More than half of all weapons seizures by CBSA officers this year have been in B.C. and Yukon. Here's why.

Hundreds of prohibited weapons seized by investigators from the CBSA's Pacific Region are seen in this photo released earlier this year. Over the first 10 months of 2023, the Pacific Region accounted for about 60 per cent of all CBSA weapons seizures nationwide. (CBSA) Hundreds of prohibited weapons seized by investigators from the CBSA's Pacific Region are seen in this photo released earlier this year. Over the first 10 months of 2023, the Pacific Region accounted for about 60 per cent of all CBSA weapons seizures nationwide. (CBSA)
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The Canada Border Services Agency seized roughly 22,700 weapons in the first 10 months of 2023. More than half of those – 13,400 – were seized in the agency's Pacific Region, which covers B.C. and Yukon.

The Pacific Region accounted for 59 per cent of all weapons seized and 60 per cent of all seizure incidents, with 8,220 of the 13,800 conducted Canada-wide occurring in the region.

B.C. and Yukon combine to account for less than 15 per cent of Canada's population.

Asked to explain this apparent discrepancy between the size of the region and the number of weapons seized, CBSA Pacific Region Supt. Daphne Chin told CTV News the large number of ports and modes of entry on the West Coast make it a major hub for travel and trade.

The region has 43 service locations, with travellers and cargo arriving by air, by ship, by road and by rail every day, Chin said.

"Not every region has all the different ports of entry as the Pacific Region does," she said.

She also noted that there was a nationwide increase in cross-border movement of people and goods in 2023 as post-pandemic travel continued to grow.

"With the increases overall in commercial shipments and in traveller traffic, this leads to overall increases in our enforcement," Chin said.

The CBSA's Pacific Region has processed more than 17 million travellers, 28 million courier shipments and two million commercial shipments in 2023 so far.

The distribution of seizures of things like weapons also varies from year to year, according to Chin, who confirmed the Pacific Region made up a smaller proportion of the national total in 2022 than it did this year.

Large seizures also have an impact. In January, the Pacific Region saw one case that, on its own, accounted for about 10 per cent of the weapons seized in the region this year.

That incident, which the agency first publicized in February, involved several parcels bound for addresses in Chilliwack, B.C., that had been imported from China using a false declaration.

Between the contents of the parcels and the execution of a search warrant, CBSA investigators seized more than 1,350 prohibited weapons. 

"It can be difficult to determine which point of entry people will use to smuggle goods and contraband weapons into the country, because they would have access to anywhere from Pacific to Atlantic," Chin said.

"We do continue to study the trends to determine where we could anticipate things to come in. As well, our officers are well-trained to detect these anomalies and to detect the trends in order to intercept the contraband and weapons and other prohibited goods at the border."

For her, the large number of seizures in the Pacific Region this year is not cause for concern, but evidence of a job well done.

"I'm very proud of the work that my colleagues have done," Chin said. "We've managed to keep, this year, over 13,000 weapons off the streets. We've intercepted millions of doses of drugs, and that's off the streets and out of people's hands. So they've done a very good job this year, and I look forward to their continued successes in the coming years." 

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