A woman from Toronto, accused of smuggling 25 firearms from the US in the gas tank of her SUV was released on bail after concerns of coronavirus risks were raised by her lawyer on Friday, reports the Toronto Sun.
Rima Mansour who was 50 at the time of the incident was arrested on Oct, 31, 2018 at the Fort Erie Peace Bridge and has been in custody ever since. Officers allegedly found 25 handguns in the tank of a Nissan Rogue she was renting at the time.
The former family law clerk was returning from Tampa after a four-day trip and was in the states “under the guise of a family trip to New York City,” alleged the Crown in court documents.
“(While in Tampa), Mansour picked up 25 firearms, wrapped them and secreted them into her gas tank and drove directly back to Canada, lying to border officials when she was stopped,” the Crown alleged.
Mansour did not gain her freedom during bail hearings which took place in December 2018 and May 2019. But Justice Shaun Nakatsuru released her on a house arrest bail of $52,000 on Friday.
Eric Neubauer, her lawyer, said Mansour has high blood pressure and arthritis which are both considered risk factors if coronavirus is contracted.
Erin Pancer, a Crown attorney said that Mansour’s “health issues have been treated at the Vanier institution where she has been detained” and the institution “has successfully taken all measures to prevent any outbreaks.”
Mansour was caught through Project Belair—a Toronto Police Service investigation in 2018 focused on firearm trafficking from the states.
One of the guns was allegedly traced to Jeri Jasmine Brown from Tampa, Fla. The Toronto Police made contact with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which had surveillance at Brown’s home in Tampa.
Officers allegedly saw a Nissan Rogue with Ontario plates parked at Brown’s home.
Mansour was allegedly driving the same Rogue as she was arrested at the Canadian border. She claimed to be visiting some family in the Bronx, says the Crown.
The sensor for the gas tank gauge was reportedly on the vehicle’s floor, reading as empty.