With the Clipper ferry in the background

Border agents stop California man with child porn in Victoria

Police say Canadian public not at risk

Suspicious border agents recently nabbed a California man with alleged child pornography when he disembarked from the Clipper Ferry in Victoria.

Benjamin Luber, 25, of La Jolla, Calif., was stopped in the Belleville Street ferry terminal Monday (March 26) by Canada Border Services Agency officials. After initial questioning, Luber was selected to undergo a more in-depth secondary examination.

“Upon examination of the traveller’s MP3 player, suspected obscene material was discovered,” said Sean Ward, acting chief of the border agency’s Victoria operations. “This led to further examinations of his electronic goods, whereupon suspected child pornography was discovered.”

The Victoria Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit was called in, and seized Luber’s laptop, music player, cellphone and digital camera. He was arrested the next day, on Tuesday.

Investigators say they don’t believe the accused intended to commit additional crimes in Canada.

“Certainly the public is not at risk up here in Canada at all,” said VicPD Det. Paul Spencelayh. “We have no concerns regarding Mr. Luber.”

Due to the ongoing nature of their investigation, Ward and Spencelayh declined to say whether Luber is known to U.S. law enforcement officials, if he has a criminal record, or if he intended to meet people in Victoria.

“We do know why he was coming up here,” Spencelayh said. Luber was travelling alone.

Victoria police credit border agents with the apprehension.

“We wouldn’t have been made aware of this incident had it not been for the diligence of the CBSA officers,” Spencelayh said during a press conference Wednesday.

Border agents assess several “risk factors” when interviewing someone, such as travel history, previous criminal records and the traveller’s overall behaviour, said Ward.

“If they’re exhibiting certain behaviours then we’ll select them for a secondary examination, a more in-depth exam,” he said.

Luber has been charged with possession of child pornography, and police say he may face additional charges.

He was released on $10,000 bail and has since returned to the U.S. where he must abide by several court-imposed conditions.

Luber is not to have an Internet connection at his home or connect to the Internet at all without prior consent from his bail supervisor, said Crown spokesperson Neil MacKenzie. Luber is also not to possess pornography or access it by electronic means.

Luber and/or his lawyer are scheduled to appear in Victoria court May 7.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Did you know?

Canada Border Service Agency officials made 53 seizures of child pornographic material in the Pacific Region in 2011. Of those, three were in the West Coast and Yukon District, which includes Victoria.

 

 

 

 

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