Four men arrested after 3.5 million contraband cigarettes seized in Manitoba

By | September 17, 2020

WINNIPEG — Four men have been arrested after the largest-ever seizure of contraband cigarettes brought into Manitoba.

The seizure took place on Sept. 9 in Brandon, Man., when the Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit, Brandon police’s major crimes unit, and Ontario Ministry of Finance Investigations seized 360 cases. This is the equivalent of 3,570,400 contraband cigarettes.

If the cigarettes, which came from an Ontario First Nation community, had been sold, the government would have lost $1,071,120 in tax revenue.

Four men from Brandon, who are between 46 to 60 years old, have been arrested.

The four suspects face charges under The Tobacco Tax Act, The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act, and the Criminal Code of Canada.

If convicted, they can be fined between $1,000 and $10,000 and face up to six months in prison. The suspects could also face a triple tax penalty of $3,213,360 and a loss of assets to the Criminal Forfeiture Fund.

None of the charges have been tested in court.

The province asks anyone with information on contraband tobacco to contact their local police department, call the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, email smuggling_manitoba@rcmp-grc.gc.ca, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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