HAMILTON, ON, Aug. 16, 2012 /CNW/ - While conducting routine inspection duties, Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) inspectors encountered a transport truck and trailer containing fine cut tobacco for which the driver did not possess the proper paperwork. The MTO inspectors contacted the OPP who then contacted the RCMP and Ontario Ministry of Finance.
As a result, the RCMP seized14,288 kilograms of fine cut tobacco as well as the tractor trailer. If produced into contraband cigarettes this would have represented several million dollars in evaded duties and taxes to the Federal and Provincial Government.
Although the effects of illegal tobacco activities may not be obvious, all Canadians feel the repercussions of these activities in the form of;
- The loss of millions in Federal and Provincial government revenues.
- Undermining of public health efforts to decrease tobacco use.
- Preventing legitimate business from carrying out their activities in a climate of fair competition.
- Financing Organized Crime
"Contraband tobacco trafficking is thought to be simply a taxation issue," stated Inspector Steve Martin, Officer in Charge of the Hamilton/Niagara Regional RCMP Detachment. "However, this type of underground economy eats away at the fabric of our society, our health care system and our social programs in addition to placing millions of dollars in the hands of Organized Crime."
"The cooperation and assistance of our various partners is an integral part of the RCMP's efforts to fight contraband tobacco." said Inspector Martin.
The investigation is continuing. Those responsible could face Federal and Provincial fines of up to $5.5 million, jail time and forfeiture of the vehicle.
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:
Sgt Robert Leary
Hamilton/Niagara Regional Detachment