Cornwall RTF continues to have a strong presence on the border

CORNWALL, ON, Jan. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - From August to December, 2015 the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) members arrested 23 individuals and seized the following items: 

13 pickup trucks, 5 boats, 5 boat outboard motors, 40.5 cases of cigarettes, 1 boat trailer and 7,693 kilograms of fine cut tobacco.  

On August 18, 2015, members of the CRTF ground and marine units along with Sûreté du Québec (SQ) were conducting surveillance near the Ontario and Quebec border.  A vessel was spotted leaving the south shore of Quebec and landing in the area of Baie de Somerville.  The two occupants of the vessel were observed offloading large garbage bags onto the shoreline and were arrested under the Excise Act, 2001 by the marine unit.  The land units intercepted four vehicles on route to the contraband delivery site and arrested the drivers.  Officers seized the 20' fiberglass boat, along with the 225 HP outboard motor, a 2008 Mazda 3, a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire, a 2006 Mazda 3, a 2004 BMW and 50 garbage bags of fine cut tobacco totaling 905 kilograms.  The investigation is continuing and charges are pending for all six individuals. 

On September 16, 2015, members of the CRTF assisted by the SQ Contraband Tobacco Initiative Team, observed a boat that was tracked to the Saint-Anicet, QC area. Several garbage bags were unloaded from the boat to two waiting vans in an area west of 10th Avenue.  The two (2) vans leaving the location were subsequently stopped by police. The first van was driven by John PALANGIO, 59 years old of Beauharnois, Quebec.  The second van was driven by a 32 year old male from Beauharnois, Quebec.  Both males were arrested under the Excise Act, 2001 and were released.  PALANGIO has since answered to these charges.  Charges are pending for the 32 year old male.  Police seized a total of 1,138 kilograms of fine cut tobacco. 

On October 5, 2015, CRTF members were conducting a joint forces operation with the SQ. Two suspect boats entered a canal in the area of Montée Gordon, Cazaville, Quebec.  Police attended the scene and observed a wooden panel covering the front of the boat and when opened, there were several garbage bags containing fine cut tobacco.  SQ seized 15 bags of tobacco totaling 225 kilograms, a 2004 Ford Explorer, a 2005 Chevrolet Aveo, an 18 foot Supersport boat with a 115 HP Evinrude outboard motor, and a Hydroyacht boat with a 225 HP motor.  Provincial tobacco tax charges were laid on the four (4) individuals by the SQ.

On October 6, 2015, the CRTF and their SQ partners were conducting a joint forces operation in the Lake St Francis, Quebec area.  Police observed a boat travelling in the channel of the St Lawrence River at a high rate of speed.  The vessel entered the St Zotique beach area where there was a male with a waiting truck and boat trailer on the ramp.  The marine unit moved in on the vessel and after observing police, the two occupants jumped from the boat onto shore and fled on foot.  One male was located and arrested a short time later and identified as 20 year old David MARCIL of St Zotique, Quebec.  The driver of the truck and trailer, 20 year old Francis BEAULIEU, also of St Zotique, Quebec was also arrested.  Both men were charged under the Excise Act, 2001.  There were 39 garbage bags of fine cut tobacco weighing a total of 571 kilograms.  Also seized were an 18' Skeeter boat, a 300 HP Mercury outboard motor, a 2007 GMC Sierra, a 2002 Dodge Ram, and a 14' Excalibur boat trailer. MARCIL has since plead guilty and received a sentence of 90 days in jail and a 3 year probation order for his participation.  BEAULIEU was released on a Promise to Appear and his next court date is January 22, 2016 in Valleyfield Quebec. 

On October 19, 2015, the RCMP Cornwall Detachment assisted by the SQ Contraband Investigation Team conducted a joint operation in the St Lawrence River / Lake St Francis, Quebec area.  Officers observed a boat with two individuals transporting garbage bags from the boat to a shed and a vehicle.  The vehicle left the property and was subsequently stopped and searched by police, revealing several garbage bags containing fine cut tobacco.  A search of the shed also revealed several more bags of contraband.    Police seized a total of 1,088 kilograms of fine cut tobacco. The driver, 30 year old Roger MILSAINT of Quebec, was arrested and charged under the Excise Act, 2001 and released on a Promise to Appear with a court date of January 19, 2016, in Valleyfield, Quebec.  MILSAINT was also charged under the authority of the Quebec Tobacco Tax Act. 

On October 22, 2015, the RCMP received information that there was someone at a cottage property in South Glengarry, Ontario while owners were away.  Members attended the scene and located 9 garbage bags of fine cut tobacco on the property.  There were no suspects in the area.  A total of 142 kilograms of contraband tobacco was seized.  The investigation is still ongoing.

On October 28, 2015, CRTF members, working in conjunction with the SQ on the Ontario and Quebec border, observed a boat travelling at a high rate of speed without navigation lights on the St Lawrence River.  Police saw a minivan with its rear hatch opened, backed up to the water's edge in the Ile au Mouton area of Quebec.  The boat unloaded, and a male and female on the shoreline loaded the bags into the vehicle.  The male left on foot and the female drove off in the vehicle.  Johanne DAGENAIS, 54 years old, and John PALANGIO, 59 years old both of Beauharnois, Quebec, were intercepted by police and arrested pursuant to the Excise Act, 2001. PALANGIO entered a guilty plea and received 3 months jail and 1 year probation and DAGENAIS entered a guilty plea and received 12 months jail and 1 year probation on these and other outstanding Excise Act, 2001 charges.  At the time of their arrest they were in possession of 609 kilograms of fine cut tobacco, which was seized by police.  The minivan that DAGENAIS was driving was also seized. 

On November 4, 2015 members of the CRTF, assisted by the SQ Contraband Investigation Team were monitoring marine activities on the St Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario and Valleyfield, Quebec.  Officers observed a boat with two occupants travelling eastbound near the south shore of Quebec. The boat arrived in the Point Gordon, Quebec area and the two males from the boat unloaded boxes from the boat to a waiting pickup truck, and then left in the boat.  Another male drove off in the truck and was stopped by police.  The driver fled on foot and was shortly after apprehended by the officers.  Arrested under the Excise Act, 2001 was a 27 year old male from Cornwall, Ontario.  Police seized a 2006 GMC pickup truck, a 23 foot boat and a 250 HP outboard motor, and 29 cases of contraband cigarettes.  The investigation is continuing.

On November 5, 2015, CRTF members were called to attend the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Port of Entry for a female that was crossing through the border with contraband tobacco.  Officers arrived on scene and observed a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck with several bags of tobacco in the box under the tonneau cover.  The 37 year old female driver, Mindy DELORMIER was arrested and charged under the Excise Act, 2001 for possession of contraband tobacco.  She was released on a Promise to Appear and her next court date is January 19, 2016.  Police seized the 2015 Dodge Ram truck as well as 240 kilograms of fine cut tobacco. 

On November 25, 2015, RCMP Cornwall in conjunction with the SQ conducted a border integrity operation where they observed a vessel in the area of Rivière Beaudette, Quebec.  Occupants of the boat were seen unloading garbage bags onto private property. When our police boat arrived two (2) individuals fled on foot.  Officers seized a total of 28 bags of fine cut tobacco weighing 382 kilograms, one (1) case of contraband cigarettes, one duck boat and a Yamaha 130 HP outboard motor.  The investigation is still ongoing.   

On December 9, 2015, members of the CRTF were working with the SQ when they observed a boat travelling east on the St Lawrence River without navigation lights.  The boat attended the shoreline in the area of St Anicet, Quebec where the two (2) occupants of the boat were observed throwing garbage bags to other individuals that were waiting on shore.  The bags were then loaded into the back of a pickup truck and driven away.  Police located the pickup truck a short distance away, and a 50 year old female was arrested.  Both the 19 year old male that fled the scene and the 34 year old male boat operator were also arrested. These three individuals were arrested under Excise Act, 2001 for being in possession of approximately 1,000 kilograms of fine cut tobacco.  Charges are pending.

On December 10, 2015, CRTF members attended the Melochville Seaway Locks, Quebec, to pick up 47 bags of fine cut tobacco that was found on the property.  No suspects have yet been identified, but the investigation is ongoing.  There was a total of 762 kilograms of fine cut tobacco seized on scene.

On December 15, 2015, CRTF officers were patrolling the shoreline of the St Lawrence River in the area of Summerstown, Ontario.  Officers observed a boat, operating without navigational lights, travelling east on the St Lawrence River toward Bainsville with two individuals on board.  Once on shore, the two individuals on the boat offloaded bags to a lone male on shore.  The boat left the area and the lone male started hauling the bags to another location.  Police arrested Francis BEAULIEU, a 20 year old male from St Zotique, Quebec for possession of contraband tobacco.  Police seized 48 bags of fine cut tobacco weighing 631 kilograms.  BEAULIEU was released on a Recognizance by a Justice and will return to Cornwall court on January 19, 2016. 

On December 20, 2015, CRTF were called to the CBSA Port of Entry (POE) in Cornwall, Ontario where a 25 year old male from Cornwall, Ontario was detained and in possession of contraband tobacco.  Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the truck that the male was driving was modified.   Officers found a false compartment at the back of the box and inside they located and seized 171 cartons of contraband cigarettes. The 2001 Dodge Ram truck was also seized.  Charges are pending. 

On December 29, 2015 officers of the CRTF were called to CBSA POE in Cornwall, Ontario where CBSA officers had pulled over a pickup truck suspected of being modified.  After a search of the vehicle, it was discovered that the box of the pickup truck was on hinges and could be lifted to expose a false compartment underneath.  When officers lifted the box, they observed 350 cartons of contraband tobacco.  Police arrested and charged 29 year old Colin HALL, 18 year old Skylar MITCHELL and 22 year old Kyle DOUGLAS-ROUNDPOINT all of Akwesasne, under the Excise Act, 2001.  The three males were released on a Promise to Appear with an Undertaking and their first court appearance is set for January 19, 2016 in Cornwall.  Police seized the contraband tobacco as well as the 1998 Dodge Ram truck they were driving. 

"RCMP members have a great working relationship with partner agencies which continues to be demonstrated by our collective successes" said Inspector Steve Ethier, OIC of Cornwall RCMP.  Inspector Ethier would also like to remind everyone of the dangers of being on the waters, especially with the thin ice at this time of the year. 

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 in both Ontario and Quebec 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, Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, and the Ontario Ministry of Finance.  CRTF is proud to be in partnership with Sûreté du Québec Service des enquêtes sur la contrebande-Valleyfield and the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service and we would like to extend our thanks for their assistance and cooperation.   

SOURCE Cornwall Regional Task Force

For further information: Cst. Jean Juneau, Cornwall RTF, 613-937-2800, ext. 258; Sgt. Kristine Rae, Ontario Provincial Police, 613-285-5479


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