VANCOUVER -- Don't cross the Canadian border with almost a million dollars that you fail to declare -- especially when you also have a Hezbollah ring and a Palestinian scarf in your possession.
Khaled Nawaya found that out the hard way when he was arrested Oct. 6 at the Douglas border crossing in Surrey, B.C., and had to spend a month in detention while being investigated as a security threat.
He was released on Thursday with a long list of conditions after a hearing before the federal government's Immigration Division member Lynda Mackie. He remains to have no status in Canada.
Mr. Nawaya, 34, had a visa to get into the country and, according to his lawyer, Phil Rankin, has spent 18 months going through all that's required to move to Canada from the U.S. as a landed immigrant.
"It's not like this started 30 days ago," said Mr. Rankin.
But the Saudi Arabian-born Syrian citizen, who is qualified as a flight instructor and had hoped to work in B.C., complicated his situation by not declaring the money.
That's against the law, although charges have not yet been laid as his case is still being investigated.
Mr. Nawaya was reluctant to speak to the media but finally declared: "I feel great. It's an experience for life. It's one of these things."
About $800,000 of Mr. Nawaya's stash, which is still in the Canadian government's possession, was in Canadian gold coins purchased by Mr. Nawaya's brother, who lives in Texas. There was another $70,000 in cash and about $10,000 in his pockets,
Further compounding the situation was his possession of a ring with the Hezbollah emblem. Mr. Rankin said the ring was one of two specially made by Mr. Nawaya's brother....
His goods also included a Palestinian scarf and DVDs related to the 9/11 tragedy.
Mr. Rankin said the combination of possessions led to the notion Mr. Nawaya was a security threat.