Windsor Detroit Shiprider Team Arrests 2, Seize Tobacco, Vessel, Vehicle
WINDSOR, Canada – As a result of an integrated cross border investigation; federal investigators with the Windsor Detroit Shiprider team arrested two US citizens on Walpole Island, Ontario for Criminal Conspiracy and Excise Act 2001 offences.
Shiprider investigators received information from the US Border Patrol on Sept. 3 that an individual was engaged in the possible movement of contraband from United States to Canada through Lake St. Clair. Windsor Detroit Shiprider acted on the information and immediately coordinated Canadian marine and land resources to respond. The vessel was intercepted by an OPP marine unit while moored along the shoreline of Walpole Island off the Johnson Channel. Shiprider investigators arrived moments later in their patrol vessel and commenced an investigation under Customs Act authorities. Two US citizens were arrested and the vessel was detained.
This investigation resulted in a search warrant being executed on a vehicle and trailer associated with the vessel’s occupant. Shiprider investigators seized 115 cases of water pipe tobacco with each case weighing an estimated 13 pounds. Along with the contraband tobacco, approximately $1700 US, a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder and a 1993 24 foot Bayliner vessel, were seized by Shiprider investigators.
Two Sterling Heights, Michigan residents - Ali Hassan Abboud, 20, and Ahmad Mohammad Abboud, 37, are facing criminal charges of conspiracy to contravene the Excise Act 2001 and unlawful possession of unstamped tobacco for sale contrary to the Excise Act 2001. On Sept. 4, both accused appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Sarnia, Ontario and were held in custody. Their next scheduled court date is, Sept. 8, in Sarnia.
American and Canadian investigations are continuing.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and United States Coast Guard would like to acknowledge the assistance and cooperative efforts of the following law enforcement agencies who contributed to this investigation: US Border Patrol; Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations; the Ontario Provincial Police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Walpole Island First Nation Police Service.
“The results of this collaborative cross border effort by Canadian and American law enforcement agencies and the unique capacity of Shiprider program to advance investigations between international jurisdictions while respecting national sovereignty should send a clear message that the international border will no longer provide an exploitative opportunity for criminal organizations to advance their illegal enterprises-” said C/Supt. Jennifer Strachan – RCMP criminal operations officer for Ontario.
Captain Scott Lemasters, commander of USCG Sector Detroit, said, "This is a great success for the Shiprider program. It comes on the heels of an operation last month where U.S. and Canadian law enforcement exercised the very same cross-border interdiction capabilities and authorities as used for this case. We couldn't be more pleased with the result."
“This arrest is a testament to how important partnerships and programs like Shiprider, the Integrated Border Enforcement Team and the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce are to border security,” said U.S. Border Patrol Detroit Sector Chief Patrol Agent Mario Martinez. “Without the collaboration between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies this apprehension would not have been possible.”
Integrated Cross Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations, Shiprider, involves specially trained and cross designated officers who have US Customs Officer Excepted status and Canadian peace officer status. While in Canadian shared waterways –all operations are undertaken under the direction and control of Canadian law enforcement officers. The opposite is true while in US shared waterways. This program provides a mechanism for law enforcement to advance cross border investigations and seamlessly transition lead roles between jurisdictions. The Shiprider team aboard a patrol vessel can cross the international border while respecting the laws and sovereignty of either nation.
Anyone with any information with respect to cross border criminal activity is encouraged to contact Canadian Coastal Watch at 1-800-387-0020, Crimestoppers or any local law enforcement agency while in Canada. For any suspicious maritime activity in the US, the public is encouraged to call 1- 877-24WATCH.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.