Armed border agents seize apple orchard files

·2 min read

Fruit industry workers in Alliston and Montague are shaken following a search by armed Canadian Border Services Agency on June 21 at locations connected to Canadian Nectar Products Inc.

CBSA confirmed teams executed search warrants at various locations in Prince Edward Island in relation to an ongoing Immigration and Refugee Protection Act investigation but would not provide specifics.

According to multiple staff on site in Alliston and corporate office in Montague, the agency synchronized the search across three locations: The orchard and a farmhouse office at 2906 Peters Road, Alliston, an office in the Down East Mall in Montague and an unspecified location in Dover. The Graphic was unable to verify details of the Dover search.

Sources say 15 officers in bulletproof vests carrying firearms swept through the orchard and farmhouse on Peters Road, while eight officers searched the office in Montague. Agents questioned staff at both locations and seized laptops, paper files and cellphones.

Canadian Nectar Products did not respond to The Graphic.

“It was intimidating,” a staff member at the Montague office said in describing the raid. “They mean business.”

Orchard staff were reluctant to share the identity of the company they work for and who their supervisors are. But they did indicate it’s business as usual at the operation. Employees were tending orchard trees in Alliston and performing administrative tasks in Montague and were under the impression leadership is looking to expand the business.

Details of the search warrants are sealed by the provincial court.

Canadian Nectar Products purchased its first 150 acres of property on PEI in June 2014. After five years it expanded to more than 230 acres and the first harvest of apples ready for the commercial market was carried out in 2017.Armed border agents seize apple orchard files

Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic

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