Advertisement
The VICE Guide to Right Now

Smuggler’s Inn Owner Charged With, Uh, Smuggling

The owner and manager of a bed and breakfast on the Canadian-American border is facing charges relating to smuggling people into Canada.

by Mack Lamoureux
Apr 10 2019, 4:46pm

The Smuggler's Inn. Photo via Google Streetview.

The owner and manager of a small American bed and breakfast called the Smuggler’s Inn has been charged by the Canadian government for uh… allegedly smuggling people over the border.

According to the Surrey Now-Leader, Robert Boule, an American man, is currently in Canadian custody, facing 21 charges that relate to helping people cross the border into Canada. Boule’s Smuggler’s Inn is located in in Blaine, Washington, and sits mere feet from the Canadian border.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly happened over the last year and, as CTV reported, it’s unknown if the seven people he’s alleged to have helped cross the border are still in Canada.

The eight-bedroom property actually sits both in Canada and the United States, which apparently makes it a nightmare to cut the grass. Boule has said in the past that a helicopter will watch them mow the lawn to make sure no one gets across the border.

Boule has been the owner of the inn for over two decades now and has leaned into its smuggling ethos—each room is named after a famous crook. These rooms include the Al Capone room, the DB Cooper Room, the Dirty Dan Harris Suite, and Ted's Hang Out. The cheeky name, proximity to the border, and Boule’s personality has led to a ton of media attention for Smuggler’s Inn. The Inn has been featured on Canadian Geographic, Fox News and pretty much all the BC and Washington outlets.

Talking to Canadian Geographic, Boule has said that during his 20 years on the border he’s seen lots of shady shit go down, including drug smugglers making their way into British Columbia. He told one journalist in 2012 to just watch his lawn with night vision goggles and they might see some action. He seemingly wasn’t lying, in 2011, a guest of the hotel actually was arrested attempting to smuggle 11 kilograms of coke across the border.

According to the CBC, which did a segment on the Inn two years ago, smuggling people at the Smuggler’s Inn might not be the best idea, as there are a plethora of border patrol officers and spotter planes patrolling the area. According to the Bellingham Herald, Boule said that around 60 people a year are arrested for sneaking over the border in his yard.

While Boule says he always makes sure his guests are there legally, sometimes, he told the CBC, they just disappear, saying “we've had people not here in the morning and have seen people arrested in Canada that were guests."

Sign up for the VICE Canada Newsletter to get the best of VICE Canada delivered to your inbox.

Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.