Strathroy Resident Charged with Possession of Contraband Tobacco

LONDON, ON, Feb. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - As the result of an investigation involving the London Customs & Excise Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in partnership with the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service, a search warrant was executed at a residence in Strathroy, Ontario. Officers seized approximately 50,000 contraband cigarettes. The brands seized included Putter's, Classic, Playfare's, DK's, Sago, Ménage, disCount and cigarettes in resealable plastic bags. Officers also seized a vehicle and approximately $1,700.

Lawrence Coates of Strathroy, Ontario was arrested and has been charged by the RCMP with possession of a tobacco product not properly stamped and possession of proceeds of crime under the Excise Act, 2001.

It is an offence in Canada to possess tobacco products not properly stamped under the Excise Act, 2001. Offenders convicted of possessing, buying or selling contraband tobacco products could be subject to fines or penalties ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. This excludes Provincial fines, which can be many times higher.

"The illicit tobacco market is a burden on all Canadians. It directly decreases government revenue for health and social programs by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The success of this investigation was the result of the joint efforts of Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service and the RCMP" stated Inspector Dwight Blok, Officer in Charge of RCMP London Detachment.

Lawrence Coates is scheduled to appear in court in London on March 30th, 2012.

Anyone with information regarding the sale and manufacturing of contraband tobacco is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-265-4444.

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information:

Cpl. Darren Morgan  
Media Relation Officer
London Detachment
RCMP "O" Division              
Office: (519) 645-4329 ext. 248

S/Sgt. Mark Campbell
Media Relation Officer
Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service
Office: (519) 245-1250


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