January 16th, 2019

American facing charges could be out $10,000


By Shurtz, Delon on January 12, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A U.S. citizen risks being arrested and losing $10,000 if he doesn’t show up for court next week to resolve smuggling and weapons charges.

Christopher Gies is scheduled to stand trial Monday and Tuesday on seven counts of contravening the Canada Custom Act, four counts of unauthorized importation and four counts of possession of a loaded, prohibited weapon, but Friday in Lethbridge provincial court a judge was told the accused has no intention of showing up.

“He says he won’t attend,” said Deanna Smyth, Crown prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service in Calgary.

The judge agreed to cancel witnesses already set to testify at the trial, but he issued an arrest warrant, which will be held until Monday in case Gies unexpectedly shows up. The accused also stands to lose the $10,000 bail he paid to be released from custody shortly after his arrest last April.

Gies’ wife, Caroline, pleaded guilty last August to one count of contravening the Canada Customs Act, and was fined $6,000. The .45-calibre gun she tried to smuggle over the border nine months ago was forfeited to the Crown, as were four over-capacity magazines and one can of pepper spray found in her vehicle.

Court was told during her sentencing hearing Aug. 28 that she and her husband were driving separate vehicles with trailers when they were detained and searched after they arrived at the Coutts border April 9. During the search officials found four prohibited firearms, seven restricted firearms, 13 non-restricted firearms, 70 over-capacity ammunition magazines and more than 27,000 rounds of ammunition.

The couple arrived at the border about 6 p.m. and Christopher, a military veteran, was questioned first by officers. He denied having any firearms or ammunition but was referred for a secondary examination, followed by his wife moments later.

As officers prepared to search her vehicle, she told them there was a gun in the glove box. Her son, who was travelling with her, said there was also some ammunition and magazines in the armrest. When officers again asked Christopher if he had any firearms, he admitted he did. Christopher was also carrying on his person three knives and several rounds of .22-calibre ammunition, court was told.

Although presented as evidence during Caroline’s sentencing, the allegations against her husband have not been proven in court.

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