Would-be Smugglers Being Thwarted at Cornwall's Port of Entry

CORNWALL, ON, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - On January 23rd, 2013, Brennan THOMPSON (age 35) from Akwesasne, ON, attempted to ride his bicycle through Cornwall's Port of Entry (POE) while carrying a hockey bag and a hockey stick. Border Service Officers (BSOs) were suspicious of THOMPSON's sports ruse, and a search of his hockey bag yielded two (2) cases of contraband cigarettes. Members of the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) were called to process THOMPSON and the contraband.

In the early morning hours of February 5th, 2013, while on patrol in the Cornwall area, CRTF members noted a suspicious GMC Sierra leaving the waterfront area at a high rate of speed. The GMC Sierra continued into town, continuously running stop signs and red lights until it collided with another unassociated vehicle. After the impact, the driver of the Sierra lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the front steps of a nearby residence. The driver was arrested and identified as Jonathan BROWN (age 26) from Cornwall.   Twenty (20) cases of contraband cigarettes were loaded in the truck. Fortunately, despite the extensive damage caused by the motor vehicle collision, the involved parties sustained only minor injuries. In addition to the contraband charges, BROWN is being charged with Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle.  BROWN was ordered held in custody after his bail hearing.

On February 7th, 2013, Wayne SELWOOD (age 61) from Cornwall attempted to pass through the Cornwall Port of Entry with a fabricated compartment on his GMC Sierra pick up, specifically a metal box made to look like a fuel tank. A search by the BSOs revealed that the false fuel tank was loaded with approximately eighty-two (82) kilograms of fine cut tobacco. Again, the CRTF was called to process SELWOOD and the conveyance.

Later that day, Richard HERNE (age 32) from Hogansburg, NY, attempted to pass through the POE with a Chevrolet Silverado pick up similarly equipped with a fake fuel tank. He was also caught with approximately eighty-eight (88) kilograms of fine cut tobacco.

On February 12th, 2013, while conducting surveillance in the Bainsville area, CRTF members located two unattended snowmobile sleighs loaded with contraband tobacco. Shortly after, three individuals on two snowmobiles arrived to collect the contraband. Police intercepted one of the suspects, arresting Pascual ST-ONGE (age 21) from St. Anicet, QC. The other two suspects managed to escape using their snowmobiles. Sixty (60) cases of cigarettes were seized.

On February 13th, 2013, Joseph MERPAW (age 59) from Newington, ON, attempted to bring five (5) cases of contraband cigarettes through the POE in a 2000 Ford F-150. CRTF members attended to process MERPAW and the conveyance.

In the early evening hours of February 19th, 2013, CRTF members observed a minivan enter the driveway of a Cornwall residence believed to be connected with cigarette smuggling. Shortly after departure from this residence, police stopped the minivan and approached Petrina DENNISON-MACDONALD (age 39) from Newington, ON, as she was exiting her vehicle. A search of the vehicle yielded two (2) cases of contraband cigarettes which were wrapped in black garbage bags. DENNISON-MACDONALD was subsequently arrested for possession of the contraband tobacco.

On February 21st, 2013, Devin LAZORE (age 19) from Akwesasne, ON, attempted to bring 432 kilograms of fine cut tobacco through the Cornwall POE in a 2004 Ford pickup. CRTF members were once again called to process LAZORE and the pickup.

Mid afternoon on February 25th, 2013, following an OPP traffic stop, Ronald SHANE (age 54) from Cornwall, Ontario, was found to be in possession of 30 cases of contraband cigarettes.  CRTF members were called in to process SHANE and the contraband.  SHANE was held for a bail hearing.

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.

If you have any information regarding criminal activity in your area, you can contact the CRTF at 1-613-937-2800 or call 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, Cornwall Community Police Service and the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

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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