Veteran Could Serve Three Years in Prison After Wrong Turn into Canada
Retired Army Sergeant Major Louis DiNatale was on his way to Vermont for vacation in his wife's car when he took a wrong turn, ended up on a bridge to Canada, and was charged for possession of a firearm after Canadian customs agents found a small-caliber pistol in his wife's console.
Although DiNatale made it clear he was on the bridge inadvertently and simply wanted to u-turn and return to the United States, he was handcuffed and could face three years in prison.
According to the LA Times, DiNatale had forgotten the gun was in his wife's console shortly after putting it there so it wouldn't be in his truck when he drove onto base at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. He put the pistol in his wife's car for safe-keeping then forgot all about it.
When a Canadian custom agent asked DiNatale if he owned guns, the retired Sergeant Major said, "yes."
The agent then asked, "why?" and DiNatale said it was because he was retired military and accustomed to weapons. He added that he had a concealed permit to carry a weapon as well.
The agent then asked DiNatale when he had last carried a gun. DiNatale told him it was earlier in the week.
A search of the vehicle ensued, and officers found a Bersa .380 handgun in the console of DiNatale's wife's car. He was handcuffed and interrogated for "trying to smuggle a loaded handgun into the country – and lying about it."
DiNatale's Canadian attorney Bruce Engel said, "Canada overreacted to DiNatale's honest mistake and is using his case to send a message."
DiNatale has a hearing in Canada in June. He faces three years if convicted.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.