How far is too far? : What to do if you are Witnessing Smuggling Activity? by Markus Noé
Cornwall Ontario – Last week an article was published on this website about Logan Grant. A security guard who works at the Civic Complex that single handedly stopped a smuggling transaction. This story received a fair amount of attention and sparked debate about how involved a civilian should get on their own. To outline this, there was only one man to talk to, Media Spokesman Sgt. Michael Harvey of the RCMP.
Here are a series of questions that was asked to and answered by Sgt. Harvey.
Q: What can a regular citizen in Cornwall do to help in the ongoing battle against smuggling? (Do and don’t)
A: Do: I would encourage the general public to notify the police as soon as they observe strange activity or see new vehicles in the area. Smugglers usually have patterns and will return to the same location if they were successful. The earlier you get the authorities involved, the faster we can get the problem solved.
Don’t: Do not approach those involved in suspicious activity.
Q: What are the current local smuggling trends?
A: Smugglers are modifying their vehicles in order to conceal the contraband tobacco they are transporting. Since the Port of Entry moved into Cornwall, we have seen an increase in smuggling activity on the St. Lawrence River. Most recently, boat loads would deliver contraband tobacco to the shores of seasonal properties located in South Glengarry, Ontario where awaiting vehicles would load up the contraband to drive away. In some cases the smugglers would use vacant cottages and boat houses to store the contraband.
In Cornwall we have seen smugglers in large groups moving contraband tobacco from boats in the downtown area and the East end of Cornwall and carrying the tobacco on foot to nearby residents to store and load up awaiting vehicles. In one recent seizure there were six men walking with cardboard boxes across a frozen canal in the east end and taking it to a nearby vehicle and residence.
Q: How helpful is it for a guy like Logan Grant to take matters into his own hands instead of ignoring the situation.
A: Although in this case it proved to be very helpful, we must advise everyone not to approach any suspects because of the potential risk that the suspects may use a weapon to protect their commodity.
It is best to contact local law enforcement first so that we can disrupt the activity before it becomes a public safety issue. We understand that many people are afraid to get involved but if they contact the local Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 they can provide the information anonymously.
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