CRTF Seizes 6,000 Pounds of Tobacco

CORNWALL, ON, Jan. 23, 2012 /CNW/ - The Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) made and assisted in eight (8) contraband tobacco seizures, three (3) drug related seizures, one (1) Proceeds of Crime investigation as well as one (1) breach of Probation Order investigation in the following jurisdictions between December 22nd, 2011 and January 17th, 2012:

  • Three (3) investigations at Cornwall's Port of Entry;
  • Six (6) investigations in South Glengarry, Ontario; and
  • Four (4) investigations in Cornwall, Ontario;

These seizures resulted in the arrest of thirteen (13) individuals who have been charged separately with the following offences:

  • On December 22nd, 2011, Timothy McCormick (age 30) from Avonmore, Ontario, was charged under the Excise Act 2001 after being found to be in possession of 20 cases of contraband tobacco products.  The 2004 van driven by McCormick was seized.
  • On December 23rd, 2011, Brittney Skidders (age 24) from Hogansburg, NY, was charged under the Excise Act 2001 after being stopped at Cornwall's Port of Entry with one (1) case of contraband tobacco, later found to be infested with an unknown bug.  Skidders' 2005 pickup truck was also seized.
  • On January 1st, 2012, a male (age 33) from Rochester, NY, was arrested at Cornwall's Port of Entry for failing to declare close to $15,000 in US currency.  This matter has been referred to RCMP Kingston's Proceeds of Crime Unit for further investigation.
  • On January 3rd, 2012, as a result of an OPP Commercial traffic stop, Marshall McComber (age 23) and Evan Williams (age 20), both from Kahnawake, Quebec, were charged under the Excise Act 2001 after their rental cube van was searched and found to contain approx. 6,000 pounds of fine cut tobacco.
  • On January 4th, 2012, Michael Somerstein (age 55) from Williamstown, Ontario, was stopped by CRTF members and found to be in possession of an axe.  Investigation of Somerstein revealed he was on a Probation Order.  As a result, he was charged for breaching one of the conditions of his order and was held in custody pending a bail hearing.
  • On January 4th, 2012, Joseph Lavare (age 22) from Bombay, NY, was stopped leaving a Cornwall residence and found to be in possession of twenty (20) cases of contraband cigarettes.  Lavare was charged under the Excise Act 2001 and the 2004 crossover vehicle he was driving was seized.  Later that day, CRTF members obtained and executed a search warrant to search the Cornwall residence, resulting in the arrests of Robert Cole (age 45) and Robyn Jacco (age 29), both from Cornwall, Ontario.  They have both been charged under the Excise Act 2001 for being in possession of thirty (30) cases of contraband tobacco.  In addition to the contraband seized, CRTF members seized a 2003 pickup truck and approximately $4,200 (CDN) currency.
  • On January 9th, 2012, CRTF members on patrol in Glen Walter, Ontario, noticed a suspicious vehicle parked at the Precious Blood Church.  Upon closer examination, Christian Searle (age 21) from Summerstown, Ontario, was found to be smoking marihuana.  Searle faces a charge under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as he was found to be in possession of more than 30 grams of marihuana.
  • In the early hours of January 10th, 2012, CRTF members observed a vessel, occupied by two (2) unknown males, unloading twenty-eight (28) cases of contraband cigarettes onto the shores of Hamilton Island.  As members approached to effect arrests, the two males fled on their vessel. The contraband along with a 2004 van was seized.
  • On January 16th, 2012, after observing what appeared to be a contraband transaction taking place at Cornwall's Wharf, CRTF members stopped Michael Fodey (age 25), from Cornwall, Ontario.  Fodey was found to be in possession of twenty four (24) cases of contraband cigarettes.  He was charged under the Excise Act 2001 and the 1990 pickup truck he was driving was also seized.
  • On January 17th, 2012, further to an investigation conducted by members of the CRTF, Georges Raymond (age 28) and Frantzy Jean (age 27) both from Ottawa, Ontario, were arrested for being in possession of marihuana.  Raymond was subsequently charged for breaching the conditions of his probation order.  Jean was charged with obstructing a peace officer by initially providing CRTF members a false name.  Jean was also charged with three (3) counts of failing to comply with the conditions of his recognizance.  Both, Raymond and Jean, were held in custody pending their bail hearings.
  • In three (3) other separate investigations, two (2) involving contraband tobacco products and one (1) involving a drug seizure, charges were not laid against individuals due to the minimal quantity involved.

The individuals noted above, who have been charged under the provisions of the Excise Act 2001, also face charges under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act for possession of unmarked cigarettes.

The CRTF continues to address the complaints of suspicious activity observed by local residents.  If anyone notices suspicious activity, they are urged to please contact the CRTF at 613-937-2800 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The CRTF is a joint forces partnership that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Services Agency, Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Ministry of Revenue and Cornwall Community Police Service.

SOURCE Cornwall Regional Task Force

For further information:

Sgt. Lee Côté     
Cornwall RTF     
613-937-7356    
Sgt. Kristine Rae
Ontario Provincial Police
613-285-5479


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