Contraband cigarettes seized

An Ontario man is facing charges in Manitoba after he was found to be transporting contraband cigarettes.

The man was arrested Monday afternoon when he was stopped by a police officer for an equipment violation on his van, RCMP said.

The officer was patrolling the Trans-Canada Highway near Angle Road in Portage la Prairie at around 1:30 p.m. when he noticed the van was missing the rear bumper and a tie down strap was hanging out the back.

When he approached the van, the officer noticed a large quantity of cigarettes in the rear of the vehicle, RCMP said.

The driver, a 31-year-old man from Ontario who currently lives in British Columbia, was arrested under the Federal Excise Act, and the vehicle was searched.

Police seized 12 cases of contraband cigarettes, each containing 50 cartons, totaling 120,000 cigarettes. The value of the contraband cigarettes is estimated at $24,000.

The driver, whose name has not been released by police, was released on a promise to appear in provincial court on Dec. 10 in Winnipeg.

Charges are pending under the Federal Excise Act and the Provincial Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act, RCMP said. A tax penalty of $66,600 could also be assessed, RCMP added.

The investigation into the matter is continuing.


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