Canada Border Services agents swarm Charlottetown motel, one person arrested, witnesses say

Teresa Wright
Published on February 18, 2016

A Canada Border Service Agency vehicle spent much of the day Wednesday outside the Sherwood Inn and Motel in Charlottetown as agents searched for and removed documents from the premises.

©Heather Taweel/The Guardian

The Canada Border Services Agency took at least one person into custody from the Sherwood Inn and Motel in Charlottetown and spent the majority of the day Wednesday searching for and removing documents from the premises.

Agents arrived at the motel complex at around 8 a.m., according to residents who live full time in some of the units.

All entrances and exits to the site were blocked off. No one was allowed to come or go from the premises.

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A young man described as a student was seen being taken away by Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) officers, according to witnesses.

By about 9:30 a.m. residents were told they could come and go as they please, but agents remained on the scene for the remainder of the day, coming and going in both marked and unmarked vehicles, removing a large volume of documents from both the main hotel building at the back of the property and from two other units in the adjacent motel.

Chastity McKinnon, regional director of communications for the Atlantic region of the Canada Border Services Agency, would only say the CBSA executed a search warrant Wednesday in Charlottetown in relation to an ongoing investigation.

“I am unable to provide any further details as the investigation is ongoing,” McKinnon said in an email statement to The Guardian.

An agent on site did confirm at least one individual was taken into custody.

Agents wearing bullet-proof vests swarmed the property for the majority of the day, lugging away boxes and boxes of files, even taking doors off their hinges, said resident Barry Huggan.

He says he is concerned about what this could mean for his home at the motel, as he has been living in one of the units since moving to P.E.I. in December.

“One of the (agents) said, ‘I’m from immigration,’ and said I have nothing to worry about, they’re just looking for files,” Huggan said.

“It brings up the concerns that if anything major is up with this, where do we go from here? Are we out on the street? Because we just moved back here from Winnipeg.”

Attempts to reach the owner of the motel were unsuccessful. The property, which is just across from the airport, is co-owned by the Zhong and the Gilman families, who have owned and operated the inn and motel since 1996, according to the motel’s website.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) provides clearance, control and examination services, on behalf of other government departments and agencies, for travellers, importers and exporters, at close to 1,200 points of entry (POE), including land border offices, international mail processing centres, airports, sufferance warehouses, and a number of other service locations. In Prince Edward Island, CBSA serves, according to its website, the Charlottetown Airport, Charlottetown Harbour, and Charlottetown Yacht Club. It also provides services at Gallant Moving and Storage in Summerside, Summerside Harbour, as well as the ports in Summerside, Souris and Georgetown.