The owner of a Washington state bed and breakfast accused of helping people illegally cross the border into Canada has had some of the charges against him stayed.
Robert Boulé operates the Smuggler’s Inn in Blaine, Wash., which sits on the U.S. side of Zero Avenue. The road separates the two countries, but is not blocked by any physical barriers.
Boulé was initially facing 30 charges under the Immigration Act, ranging from organizing illegal entry into Canada to attempting to counsel someone to commit an offence, alleged to have occurred between May 2018 and March 2019.
But at a court appearance in Surrey on Tuesday, Crown prosecutors revealed nine of those charges had been stayed.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says it opted to stay the charges in order to obtain the earliest possible court dates on the most serious charges Boulé is facing.
WATCH: Global camera captures video of alleged border-jumpers
Boulé was granted bail in April under 16 conditions, which include posting a large sign on his property warning that entering Canada from Boulé’s land is illegal.
He was also ordered to cancel all of his telephone numbers and his personal email address, to be replaced with new numbers and email limited for business use.
In April, Global News cameras witnessed a family with suitcases cross Boulé’s property and enter Canada, only to be taken into custody moments later.
Boulé has been active with the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, and was described by one longtime friend as a pillar of the community.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says a trial date has now been set for Jan. 13, 2020.