WINDSOR, ON, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - As the result of two separate, on-going investigations, the Windsor RCMP have arrested and charged three men and seized approximately 725,000 illegal cigarettes.
The first incident occurred during the evening of June 1, 2012 as RCMP Border Response Team investigators observed a white Chevrolet cargo van pull up near a red Pontiac Grand Prix in a Dougall Avenue parking lot. Both vehicles departed the parking lot and were stopped near the intersection of Sharon Avenue and Dynasty Street. All the vehicle occupants were arrested for Excise Act,2001 offences and police seized 56 cases of contraband tobacco (Approximately 560,000 cigarettes).
Police investigation determined that the operator of the cargo van - 36 year old Adrian MILLER of Oshweken, Ontario was also wanted on warrants for Excise Act, 2001 (contraband tobacco) offences as well as charges of Failing to Appear from Brockville, Ontario.
As a result of this investigation, 40 year old Samer ZOTTI of Windsor, Ontario and Adrian Miller have been charged with Unlawfully Purchase/Receive Unstamped Tobacco and Unlawfully Possess for Sale Unstamped Tobacco contrary to the Excise Act, 2001 and two counts of Conspire to Contravene the Excise Act, 2001 contrary to the Criminal Code. Samer ZOTTI is next scheduled to appear in the Windsor Ontario Court of Justice on June 11th, 2012. Adrian MILLER is currently held in custody.
The second incident occurred during the evening of June 4, 2012 as RCMP officers executed search warrants on a Windsor Variety store and an outdoor storage shed. Police seized approximately 800 cartons of cigarettes (Approximately 165,000 cigarettes). The searches took place at the Westcott Variety on Westcott Street in Windsor. The store's manager, a 34 year old Windsor man, is facing charges of Possession of Unstamped Tobacco contrary to the Excise Act, 2001.
"It is illegal to possess or sell tobacco products that are not packaged or stamped as required by Canadian law", said S/Sgt Bob BERGOINE - the NCO i/c Windsor Border Response Team. He added "people need to be aware that they are funding criminal activity when they purchase contraband tobacco products".
Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is encouraged to contact their local police, the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
RCMP Border Response Teams (BRT's) enhance border integrity and security along the shared Canada/U.S. border by identifying, investigating and interdicting persons, organizations and goods that threaten the national security of our countries or that are involved in organized criminal activity.
For further information:
For further information (or photographs) please contact:
Sgt. Peter KOERSVELT
Windsor RCMP Detachment