A Canadian man has been convicted in Vermont of smuggling 100 firearms across the US/Canadian border – through a library that straddles the border. The historic Haskell Library used for dead drops now has a much less salubrious claim to fame.
A 41-year-old man, Alexis Vlachos, from Montreal has been given a 51-month prison sentence after admitting to smuggling guns into Canada through a Vermont library. Vlachos smuggled more than 50 guns through the Haskell library which, built in 1905, straddles US/Canadian border in Derby, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec.
Vlachos led a three-man gang that smuggled guns for a number of years. The men bought weapons from licensed dealers in Florida and smuggled them across the border between July 2010 and April 2011. The two other men would hide a backpack in a trash can in the library’s bathroom before Vlachos, who would already be waiting at the library, would then go in and collect it before leaving and crossing back into Canada.
There’s no entrance into the library from the Canadian side and the building can only be accessed from Vermont, with visitors having to walk around the building and cross the border to enter. Once back in Canada Vlachos would sell on the guns. In April 2011, in addition to the library smuggling, Vlachos trekked across a more remote section of the border near Wallace Lake, Vermont carrying a backpack stuffed with 34 pistols.
The Canadian smuggler was arrested by Quebec police in February 2015, he subsequently pleaded guilty to charges of charges of conspiracy and unlawfully exporting handguns. A repentant Vlachos told the court that he was a ‘changed man’, reportedly telling the judge that he “was blinded by easy money, greed, selfishness, and opportunism,” and according to the Associated Press subsequently apologised for violating “the trust … of our two great nations.” Vlachos was sentenced to 51 months, his time served in custody since 2015, may be going towards this.