Illegal smokes seized in B.C. and Ontario

Police in British Columbia and Ontario have seized more than 13 million contraband cigarettes in separate stings.

On the West Coast, RCMP busted what they say is the largest counterfeit cigarette shipment ever detected in B.C. — 10 million contraband cigarettes headed to Canada.

One Canadian man and six from China are facing charges of smuggling and possessing unlawfully imported goods and improperly stamped tobacco after the Oct. 29 bust. They face up to five years in jail and fines of up to $500,000 on each of the three charges.

Officers with the Canada Border Services Agency were suspicious about a shipment aboard a container vessel and took a closer look.

Documents that accompanied the container, originally from China, indicated it should have contained roofing nails, screw kits, cutting blades and other tools. But an X-ray discovered there were 51,000 cartons of undeclared cigarettes hidden inside the container.

The RCMP said the cigarettes had a street value of $4.9 million.

Meanwhile, Ottawa police seized more than three million contraband cigarettes and charged a man after searching an apartment and various storage facilities in the city.

The RCMP said yesterday that law enforcement and government officials executed numerous search warrants last week on an apartment and storage facilities. The searches resulted in the seizure of 3.45 million contraband cigarettes, a small quantity of drugs and four vehicles.

Richard Cardinal, 50, of Ottawa has been charged with one count of possession of a tobacco product not properly stamped and one count of possession of a substance. He could face up to five years in prison and a fine of more than $850,000.

source: Victoria Times Colonist

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