More than 1 million contraband cigarettes seized from semi in Manitoba

A Calgary man is facing severe fines and potential jail time after police found more than a million contraband cigarettes in a semi truck heading through Manitoba.

The seizure, which also included 42 lbs. of illegal cannabis, was part of a joint operation by Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit and the Ontario Ministry of Finance’s Compliance Branch.

In total, 1,060,000 illegal smokes were seized — the equivalent of $318,000 in lost Manitoba tax revenue if they’d been sold.


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The truck’s driver, a 34-year-old man, faces charges under the Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act, as well as criminal offences.

He may face a fine between $1,000 and $10,000, plus up to six months in jail, and there’s also a potential triple tax penalty of $954,000.

Anyone with information on contraband tobacco is asked to call local police, the special investigations unit at 204-945-1137, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Tips can also be sent via email to smuggling_manitoba@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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