OTTAWA, May 25, 2016 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) congratulated New Brunswick's new Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Unit on its first major arrests. Last week, the unit announced it had seized almost 170,000 cigarettes in Fredericton following a two-week investigation.
"This bust reinforces that dedicated enforcement teams produce results," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and spokesperson for NCACT. "If the experience of Quebec similar task forces in Quebec is any indication, this bust is likely the first of many," continued Grant. "In Quebec, tough anti-contraband measures introduced in 2009 have led to a 50% decrease in Contraband."
Contraband Tobacco is a growing problem in New Brunswick, and the province estimates it loses $13 million annually in lost tax revenues to the trade. The RCMP has indicated that smugglers have shifted to smaller shipments to avoid large busts, like that in late November where more than 1.5 million cigarettes were seized near Val-Doucet, along with guns and illicit alcohol.
"The danger of illegal cigarettes is more than lost revenue. Contraband tobacco is big business for organized crime. The RCMP have identified 175 criminal gangs are involved in the illegal cigarette trade. They use contraband tobacco as a cash cow to finance their other illegal activities, including guns drugs and human smuggling," said Grant.
Tobacco smuggled into New Brunswick is largely produced at one of the 50 illegal factories that operate in Canada, each of which is able to produce as many as 10,000 cigarettes a minute. In Ontario and Quebec, an absence of early action against contraband tobacco allowed the problem to get out of hand. In Ontario, contraband cigarettes represent 1 in 3 of all cigarettes purchased. Ontario has also just launched a similar dedicated contraband tobacco enforcement team.
"New Brunswick's decision to dedicate resources to addressing contraband tobacco is already paying dividends," concluded Grant. "This is important. Contraband tobacco undermines government tobacco control efforts. Only with the right tools and resources for police will we be able to address this problem."
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and individuals concerned about the growing danger of contraband cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals of working together to educate people and urge government to take quick action to stop this growing threat.
The members of the NCACT are: Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec (ADA), Association des marchands dépanneurs et épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), Customs and Immigration Union, Échec au crime Québec, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA), National Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada, Toronto Crime Stoppers, United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA), and National Capital Area Crime Stoppers.
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
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