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Alleged Grooms’ Licenses Forging Triggered Hastings Racecourse Arrests

British Columbia is in hot water over the past few days, as an unexpected raid with arrests took place at Hastings Racecourse earlier this week. Now it has been revealed that an undisclosed inspector with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch is under investigation for the supposed forging of mandatory paperwork allowing foreigners to work at the horse racetrack in Vancouver.

The beginning of this week saw a turn of events that was like something out of a movie. The popular Vancouver racetrack witnessed unexpected arrests conducted by the Canadian Border Services Agency in collaboration with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch at Hastings Racecourse.

Employees, horse people, and horse owners were in distress after the intimidating situation that witnessed agents targeting Mexican employees of the racetrack and asking them questions regarding their nationality. Some of the people were asked to provide IDs, ultimately seeing 26 of them being cuffed and taken away without explanation.

GPEB Inspector Allegedly Forged Licenses

It is safe to say that this situation has disrupted peace at the racetrack, as the people left behind and the horse owners that have hired those Mexican workers for the live season were told nothing about the nature of the arrests.

Employees were worried sick about their colleagues, telling reporters they do not know when they are going to see them again. Over the past hours, Minister’s Counsel Leanne Millermore disclosed more information on the subject and put an end to all speculations regarding the sudden arrests.

The British Columbia Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch came across a piece of information suggesting that a Mexican employee might be working at Hastings Racecourse with a registration card that was supposed to be used by another individual.

Brandon Carrion Gomez was informed earlier this summer that he could work at the racecourse as a groom and he followed all mandatory conditions for receiving a license by the GPEB. In this sense, he has nothing to do with the forging, as it allegedly involves an inspector with the GPEB.

Investigation Continues

The official whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, for the time being, has allegedly falsified the documentation by photographing it and swapping it. Mr. Carrion Gomez stated that the mandatory licensing for operation cost him some CA$1,000, which is an unusually high rate for the mandatory documentation. He was among the workers arrested on Monday morning.

Another Mexican worker at the backstretch did not have the mandatory documents, even though horse owners there have employed him for years. Javier Olalde Angel stated that he was paid biweekly in cash payments of CA$1,000, but he also paid some CA$600 for the proper legal paperwork allowing him to work there. Mr. Carrion Gomez would have to return to Mexico in the foreseeable future.

The arrests conducted by the agents suggest that there has been a breach of the Customs Act or the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, the Canada Border Services Agency has not confirmed that for the time being. The only thing representatives highlighted was that there is an ongoing probe.