The operator of a Blaine, Wash. bed and breakfast called the “Smuggler’s Inn” is facing 21 charges under the Immigration Act for allegedly helping people illegally sneak into Canada.
Robert Boulé’s business sits directly across from Surrey, B.C. on Zero Avenue. There is no fence, physical border or other barrier, save for a line of boulders abutting the road, between his property and the Canadian side.
On Tuesday, as Global News cameras rolled, a family with suitcases in hand appeared to cross Boulé’s property, Zero Avenue and into Canada.
Moments later, uniformed officers swooped down and took them into custody.
WATCH: More border jumpers are caught crossing into B.C.
Len Saunders, a Blaine immigration lawyer and longtime friend of Boulé’s, described him as a pillar of the community.
“I’ve probably known him for about 10 years, he’s a very prominent individual in Blaine,” said Saunders.
“He’s basically a builder of our community, and he was actually awarded by the city council of Blaine last year over the summer recognition of one of the Blaine Builder Awards.”
The Blaine Chamber of Commerce lists Boulé is a board member.
Boulé faces a slew of charges, ranging from organizing illegal entry into Canada to attempting to counsel someone to commit an offence, on dates ranging from May, 2018 to March 2019.
He is due in Surrey Provincial Court on Wednesday.