Arms export bound for Iraq seized in Toronto


TORONTO – Border officials say they’ve seized a cache of gun parts and police equipment at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport that was destined for Iraq.

The Canada Border Services Agency says the discovery of the arms stemmed from an incident in February, when officers at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing in Niagara Falls, Ont., identified a man who was the subject of “an intelligence lookout.”

During an interview with the man, officers discovered an airline waybill indicating an export of auto parts to Iraq.

The CBSA says further investigation revealed documentation and photos that caused officers to suspect gun parts were in fact involved in the export shipment, which was located at the Toronto airport’s cargo facility.

Officers at the Rainbow Bridge immediately contacted their counterparts at the Toronto airport, who tracked down the shipment at a cargo services warehouse.

A CBSA spokeswoman said the seizure was only announced Tuesday because the agency had to wait for confirmation from Global Affairs that the arms were in violation of United Nations Iraq Regulations.

“The interaction at the Rainbow Bridge and then the colleagues at the bridge contacting colleagues at Pearson, that was all very quick,” said Antonella Digirolamo. “What we do at ports of entry across Canada is we help with the administration of export legislation, but we had to defer to our colleagues at Global Affairs Canada.”

The cargo shipment — which has since been turned over to the RCMP — was found to contain numerous handgun and rifle parts, police badges, badge holders and tactical jackets destined for Iraq.

Digirolamo said the man whose interview sparked the seizure was allowed to withdraw his application to enter Canada at the Rainbow Bridge and return to the U.S.