RCMP, Canada Border Services make B.C.’s largest counterfeit cigarette seizure

The plan to bring 10 million contraband cigarettes into Canada went up in smoke when RCMP busted what they say is the largest counterfeit cigarette shipment in B.C.

Seven men, one from Canada and six from China, were arrested and are facing charges of smuggling and possessing unlawfully imported goods and improperly stamped tobacco after the bust Oct. 29.

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

RCMP have busted what they say is the largest counterfeit cigarette shipment in B.C. Seven men, one from Canada and six from China, were arrested and are facing charges of smuggling and possessing unlawfully imported goods and improperly stamped tobacco after the bust Oct. 29.

RCMP have busted what they say is the largest counterfeit cigarette shipment in B.C. Seven men, one from Canada and six from China, were arrested and are facing charges of smuggling and possessing unlawfully imported goods and improperly stamped tobacco after the bust Oct. 29.

The documents that accompanied the container, originally from China, indicated it should have contained roofing nails, screw kits, cutting blades and other tools. But, when officers X-rayed the shipment they discovered 51,000 cartons of undeclared cigarettes hidden inside the container.

Border services officers also felt the smuggled cigarettes may be counterfeit.

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

The men face up to five years in jail and fines of up to $500,000 on each of the three charges.

This seizure is slightly larger than the previous record counterfeit cigarette bust that happened last April when authorities discovered a container in Vancouver with about 50,000 cartons of cigarettes.

“There is little doubt that only organized crime has the money or resources for this kind of enterprise,” the RCMP said in a statement.

“The cigarettes in this shipment have little or no quality control and represent a health risk above and beyond what most smokers expect. The provincial government also loses out on taxes that could normally be funneled back into health care and other worthy public projects.”

source: The Vancouver Sun

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