A Langley man says he was refused admission to Mexico for being a drug trafficker, despite winning an absolute discharge on that precise allegation in court.
Randy Caine and his wife Maureen were met by Mexican police when they flew to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in March, planning to stay at the time share they own in a nearby town.
It wasn’t exactly a vacation.
Maureen Caine’s mother had just died and the couple wanted some quiet time away from home.
Caine told The Times they were stopped by a Mexican federal police officer as they exited the jet.
“They were waiting at the bottom of the stairs,” Caine told The Times.
“They had my picture. I never even cleared customs.”
Caine was separated from his wife and taken to an interrogation room where he was told that he’d been flagged as a “security threat.”
When he asked what kind of security threat, he was told it was for being a drug trafficker.
Caine demanded to know who had flagged him.
He said he was told “you need to speak to your government.”
The Mexican police put Caine back on the jet he arrived on, but his wife was not allowed to join him, even though an empty seat was available.
She was forced to fly back three hours later.
Caine said the experience was especially traumatizing for his wife of 39 years, who was still grieving her loss.
Caine was charged, but not convicted, of drug trafficking in July of 2011 when his legal medical marijuana dispensary in Langley City was raided by the RCMP.
The charge was dropped in June of 2013.
Under a plea bargain with the federal prosecutor in the case, Caine pleaded guilty to less serious violations of exceeding the amount of marijuana he was allowed under his Health Canada licence and of storing it improperly, and was granted an absolute discharge on both counts.
Under Canadian law, an absolute discharge is not considered a conviction.
Caine said when he arrived at Vancouver International Airport, he asked a Canada Border Services Agency officer to run a check on his passport.
The officer told Caine a search of several databases found no alerts had been issued and a further search of the internet only found some news articles about Caine’s legal battles over marijuana laws.
Since then, Caine has filed multiple requests with different Canadian government agencies under Freedom Of Information laws to find out exactly who was responsible for making what he described as “false and baseless” allegations to the Mexicans.
He is concerned that other countries may have been given the same incorrect information.
“We’re at a point in our lives [my wife and I] where we would like to travel,” Caine said.
He would also like to expand his chain of Hempyz Gifts and Novelties store into other countries.
One of the agencies, the RCMP, has responded by telling Caine his file is so big, they will need extra time to go through it.
A May 25 letter to Caine from Patrick Fox of the RCMP Access to Information and Privacy Branch said the police force would need more than the statutory 30-day time limit to comply with his request “due to a large volume of records and because meeting the original time limit will unreasonably interfere with operations.”