U.S.

'Exemplary' American Smuggles Dozens of Guns Into Canada Using NEXUS Pass For Expedited Border Crossings

A Michigan man pleaded guilty on Monday to smuggling dozens of guns into Canada using a NEXUS pass, which gives "trusted travelers" access to expedited processing at border crossings between the U.S. and its northern neighbor. 

Expressing regret over his potential role in a spate of shootings across the Greater Toronto Area, Randy Jackson, 35, admitted that he had bought a total of 67 handguns in Michigan in 2017 and transported them to Canada to be sold on the black market, Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star reported. 

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Jackson made the admission as part of a plea agreement, which saw him plead guilty only to trafficking four weapons, including three handguns that Canadian border officials found hidden in his underwear as he tried to cross the border from Port Huron, Michigan on October 12, 2017.

The 35-year-old, who has a girlfriend and children in London, Ontario, was able to regularly cross the U.S.-Canada border with limited surveillance using his NEXUS pass.

The NEXUS program allows "pre-screened" travelers to use dedicated processing lanes at northern border points of entry, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Mexican nationals belonging to the southern country's trusted traveler program Viajero Confiable are also eligible to apply for the NEXUS program, according to CBP's website. 

Prosecutor Erin Pancer said that Jackson, a father of two sons, had exploited his image as an "upstanding citizen" to cross the U.S.-Canada border carrying firearms almost every weekend in 2017. 

“That’s why he was able to get the Nexus pass, that’s why he was able to cross so freely into the country and that’s why he was able to conceal the firearms,” Pancer told Ontario Court Judge Riun Shandler, according to the Star.

Jackson's defense lawyer, Christian Angelini described his client as a devoted father who "appears to have lived an exemplary life," enlisting in the Michigan National Guard at 19 and serving two tours of duty in Kuwait with the U.S. armed forces. Before his arrest, he had been working as a patient attendant at a hospital in Michigan while studying health care administration and had planned to eventually move to London, Ontario to live with his girlfriend and children. 

The 35-year-old told the judge that he had not realized the "possible serious consequences" of his actions until he witnessed the surge in shootings in the Toronto area last year. In 2018, the area saw its highest number of shootings ever, with a total of 424 incidents. 

"Over the last year, I've seen...the impact of bringing firearms into Canada," Jackson said after making his guilty plea. 

“There was a shooting somewhere in the GTA in the news almost every day," the 35-year-old said. "It’s a painful thing, it’s a painful feeling to see so many stories break and wonder if I had any fault in it." 

Indeed, according to local broadcaster City News, several of the firearms Jackson admitted to smuggling into the U.S. have since been recovered at a number of crime scenes.

Jackson said he was "deeply sorry" for his involvement and stressed that he was "not and have never been, involved in any gang, foreign or domestic." 

The 35-year-old is expected to be sentenced on Friday. 

GettyImages-647295908 A boundary marker marks the US/Canada border March 2, 2017, in Estcourt, Maine. A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to smuggling dozens of guns into Canada to be sold on the black market. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty

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