A former Canadian army captain has been released from custody in the United States where he spent months behind bars because of a decades-old marijuana conviction for which he had been pardoned in Canada.
Demetry Furman, 47, was dropped off at the border crossing at Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday. His American wife, Cynthia Furman, sped to Canada to spend the first night with her husband since he was arrested by U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement [ICE] on Aug. 1.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Mr. Furman said of being freed. “The fresh air made me drunk.”
When he woke up on Tuesday, he said, he was led to believe he was going to be transferred to another jail. Instead he was put into a van and driven the border and “unceremoniously dumped off on the Canadian side.”
Mr. Furman said ICE officials had suggested that going to the media about his situation would only hurt his cause. But The Globe and Mail wrote about the ordeal in Tuesday’s paper and “as soon at it went public, I suddenly started moving.”
He is now planning a civil suit against ICE and the U.S. government. “This is a travesty, what they pulled off here,” he said in a telephone interview. “I agree with legal immigration and I agree with border security, but I am not the person that is threatening their security, nor am I the person who was trying to immigrate illegally.”
Mr. Furman was a Canadian artillery captain who was deployed to Afghanistan and obtained top-secret clearance while working with the CIA, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Military Intelligence.
That clearance came years after he was convicted on a drug-trafficking charge in Saskatoon at the age of 23. Mr. Furman was with a friend who tried to sell marijuana to a police officer. He was fined $80 and spent a month at an equestrian work camp for his crime. He was pardoned by Canada in 2002.