Crime

Smuggler’s Inn owner accused of aiding illegal border crossings into Canada gets bail

Bob Boule stands outside his Smuggler’s Inn Bed and Breakfast with his ’87 Cadillac stretch limousine in 2004, in Blaine.
Bob Boule stands outside his Smuggler’s Inn Bed and Breakfast with his ’87 Cadillac stretch limousine in 2004, in Blaine. The Bellingham Herald file

The owner of the Smuggler’s Inn Bed and Breakfast in Blaine, who is accused of helping at least 16 people illegally enter Canada, has been granted bail.

According to a Surrey Now-Leader story published Thursday morning, Robert Joseph Boulé had bail set at $15,000 in Surrey Provincial Court in British Columbia. Boulé, who owns the Smugglers Inn and has property adjacent to the Canadian border on Canada View Drive, previously had to wait two weeks for a decision on bail.

As part of the bail conditions, Boulé also must deny customers who give any indication of a plan to enter Canada illegally and erect a sign 10 feet from the border of his property that states ‘Warning, it is illegal to enter Canada from this property,’ the Now-Leader reported.

Boulé also has to cancel all his existing phone numbers and email accounts, according to a story by The Abbotsford News. Boulé has to provide the new passwords to his bail supervisor, as well as provide call logs and text messages once a month, CTV News Vancouver reported. Boulé must also get a photo of the official government ID of all guests, the CTV story stated.

Boulé is facing 30 total charges relating to counseling offenses for inducing, aiding or abetting people to illegally attempt entry into British Columbia from April 2016 through March 2019, according to the Now-Leader.

0409 Smugglers Inn2.jpg
”O” Avenue that runs in front of Bob Boule’s Smuggler’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, shown in 2003, in Blaine is in Canada, as is about five feet off his front lawn. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

In a 2017 story by The Seattle Times, Boulé said he often saw people crossing the border, though he said at the time he didn’t help them cross and that he made sure anyone who stayed at the Smugglers Inn has been legally allowed into the United States.

“At that point in time, our responsibilities have been taken care of,” Boulé told The Times.

In 2012, Boulé told The Bellingham Herald that approximately 60 people per year are arrested going through the Smuggler’s Inn yard after a Canadian woman, who was arrested at the Inn in December of 2011 with a vanity plate that read “SMUGLER” on her car, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

In 2014, Boulé announced that he would offer tours of the recreational and medical sides of the marijuana industry in Whatcom County for guests at the inn in his 38-foot stretch limo.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.


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