More than two years after he was denied admission to Mexico during a vacation, Langley City resident Randy Caine still doesn’t know who reported him as a drug trafficker.
After filing a request with the RCMP under the federal Access to Information Act to find out exactly who was responsible for making what Caine described as “false and baseless” allegations to Mexican authorities, Caine said nothing has been disclosed.
At first, the RCMP Access to Information and Privacy Branch told him that they would need more than the statutory 30 days to respond, then declined to release the information, arguing it was exempt under regulations that allow a federal agency to refuse to release certain kinds of information.
The RCMP did not give details, but exemptions can include disclosure “affecting the safety and security of individuals” and privileged information covered by lawyer-client confidentiality.
“That’s when things went sideways,” Caine said.
“All of a sudden, it got weird.”
Caine and his wife Maureen were greeted by Mexican police when they flew to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta in March of 2015.
He was refused admission, told that he’d been flagged as a “security threat” for being a drug trafficker and put on a flight back to Canada. His wife had to take a later flight.
Caine operates stores selling legal hemp products in both Langleys and White Rock and has often campaigned for reducing restrictions on marijuana use.
He 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 2013 when 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.
He was then granted an absolute discharge on both counts. Under Canadian law, an absolute discharge is not considered a conviction.
Following the RCMP response to his FOI request, Caine took his case to the Office of the Information Commissioner, which investigates complaints about federal institutions’ handling of access requests.
An email from the office provided to the Times by Caine said the RCMP have made a commitment to an investigator for the commissioner to respond to the commissioner’s questions, and if the federal police force fails to meet that commitment, “formal steps” will be recommended.
“My director has already been briefed on your files and will support that action should it be necessary,” the email from the investigator stated.
As an ombudsperson, the commissioner does not have the power to order a complaint to be resolved in a particular way, but may refer a case to the federal court for resolution.
Caine has continued to travel outside Canada to other countries since 2015, but “I can’t go to Mexico and the U.S. until I can determine what the hell took place.”