Irshadgul News report,
A newly released document shows that the Canada Border Services Agency became suspicious of Gabriel Wortman before killing 22 people in April 2020.
The document is part of a collection of materials released by the Public Casualty Commission last week as it wrapped its public hearings on the killings and their consequences.
Wortman and her longtime partner, Lisa Banfield, were placed on the CBSA’s Project Frequent Flyer list in 2010 due to their recurring trips to the Caribbean.
According to the affidavit of CBSA Director of Intelligence Eric LeVac, the couple were added to the list because of their travel to “Jamaica and/or the Dominican Republic, both drug-source countries of concern to CBSA”.
Information provided to the MCC revealed that the RCMP would not have been aware that Wortman was looking for CBSA because the two agencies did not share such information.
Similarly, CBSA officers were unaware of the official security bulletins or other red flags that the police had raised about him.
On March 19, 2010, Wortman was selected for the secondary exam when he flew to Stanfield International Airport in Halifax. This was the first time he was flagged under the Frequent Flyer Project. Nothing was found.
A month later, on April 9, 2010, Wortmann was again subjected to a secondary examination at the airport and again, found nothing.
As a result of those two searches, the names of Wortman and Banfield were removed from the frequent flyer list on April 26, 2010. In his affidavit, Levack said that removing him from that list meant that his name would not appear in any subsequent searches of his files.
‘Charity Work’ in the Caribbean
However, the pair was still subject to additional searches, including on May 9, 2010. On that occasion, Banfield was selected for additional investigation. She told officials that Wortman was her boyfriend and employer and that the pair traveled to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic about six times a year. According to Levack, nothing was found in the search.
The documents released to the MCC included a statement from Michael Kleinwick, an intelligence officer at CBSA who oversaw the Project Frequent flyer. He took one of the secondary examinations for Wortman and Banfield.
“Wortman told me he was doing charity denture work in the Caribbean and Banfield assisted him,” Kleinwick recalled.
“I remember he said it was similar to Medicaid Sans Frontieres, but for dentures and he had helped five or six people on that trip,” he said. Kleinwick said he was satisfied with the explanation and let them pass.
Wortman next came on CBSA’s radar in April 2016. This time, it was across the Canada-US border in Woodstock, NB.
Wortman had bought bikes in Florida and the agent felt underreported, trying to avoid or reduce fees and taxes.
When he arrived at the Canadian side of the border, Wortman showed CBSA officials the receipts for the bike, but they refused to let them see his eBay account to verify the price he had paid.
While the bike was not confiscated, the episode produced a report. That report in turn led to another search, this time for suspicion of smuggling. That Lookout was released on July 27, 2016. Four days later, Wortman was subject to another secondary search at the Woodstock crossing due to concerns about auto parts.
stopped at the border several times
Wortman was traveling in a vehicle with a main license plate with his American friend Sean Connalog. Officials found two new tires and parts for a motorized scooter. He told Cologne that he has a choice if he wants to avoid paying duties and taxes: he can either leave the goods at the border crossing, or return to the United States.
He and Wortman opted to go back to America and leave the items there. When they returned to the border, they were again searched, but nothing was found.
Wortman was under more close observation in the following weeks:
- St. Stephen’s, NB, at the crossing on August 16, 2016.
- Woodstock, NB, at the crossing on September 4, 2016.
- At Woodstock Crossing on 25 September 2016.
- Again at Woodstock on 9 November 2016.
At the August crossing, Wortman announced the tires, clothing and alcohol he had purchased in America; the agent found that the announcements were accurate.
Regarding the September 4 crossing, a Border Services official said that, “The sheer number of imported bikes raises some questions but [Wortman] claim they are personal imports and appear to be of good value relative to year and condition.”
During his crossing later that month, Wortman questioned why he was being subjected to additional investigation when he had a Nexus card. Nexus is a joint, Canadian-US program that aims to streamline border crossings for people who have been screened before.
From November 2016 to April 2020, Wortman crossed the Canada-US border 21 times. At one of those crossings, he took off at Stanfield Airport in Halifax. The other 20 crossings were through the Woodstock port of entry into New Brunswick.
He was subjected to five secondary searches at the Woodstock crossing; The first in August 2018, the last in August 2019, eight months before the stampede of 18 and 19 April 2020. Nothing was found in these searches.
Evidence presented to the Public Casualty Commission showed that Wortman was able to He smuggled the three guns used in his getaway across the border, after receiving them in the United States.
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