The owner of a bed and breakfast that hugs the B.C.-Washington border has been released on bail on condition that he erect a large sign on his property warning against crossing into Canada.
The bail hearing for Smuggler’s Inn owner Robert Joseph Boulé was held in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, in Surrey, on Thursday morning. He faces 21 charges, laid earlier this month, for allegedly “inducing, aiding or abetting” seven people who attempted to illegally enter the country.
The sign is one of 16 conditions he agreed to as part of his bail. The sign, to be about one by two and a half metres, must be placed within three metres of the border and read on both sides: “Warning. It is illegal to enter Canada from this property.”
The alleged offences occurred between May 2018 and March 2019, and include breaches of court orders that Boulé was “not to assist any person in the United States with attempting to enter Canada illegally.”
Smuggler’s Inn is located just metres from the border in Blaine, Wash.
It has been in several news stories over the years, sometimes because of incidents involving illegal immigrants and drug smuggling. One involved a 21-year-old guest who was caught in 2011 by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents heading to the inn with 11 kilograms of cocaine jammed into a box.
Three Vancouver residents pleaded guilty to drug offences in Seattle in connection with that drug bust, which made headlines in part because of the name of the inn.
That crime was not connected to Boulé.