Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – Contraband Tobacco Team
Cornwall ON – The Government of Canada is contributing approximately $7 M over three years to the RCMP for the creation and operation of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – Contraband Tobacco Team (CFSEU-CTT).
About the CFSEU-CTT
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit is a multi-agency unit made up of law enforcement partners from various levels including federal, provincial and municipal agencies. The objectives of the unit are to:
- Combat the activities of organized crime as it relates to the illegal tobacco industry including the illegal importation, production and transportation across international boundaries into Canada.
- Conduct mid to high level investigations aimed at the dismantling and disruption of illegal tobacco distribution networks.
- Assist other RCMP units in maintaining border integrity by combating the illegal smuggling of tobacco into Canada by criminal organizations.
In the course of its enforcement operations, the team will also seek to increase understanding in the local communities of organized crime’s involvement in illegal tobacco and other illegal activities.
The CFSEU will focus its efforts within the greater St. Lawrence Seaway Valley, a region which encompasses the area from Cornwall, Ontario to Valleyfield, Quebec.
The CFSEU will operate over a period of three years and be fully operational within the first six to twelve months.
Organized Crime and Contraband Tobacco
Recent intelligence identifies approximately 175 organized crime groups as being involved to varying degrees in the contraband tobacco market in Canada. 74% of these organized crime groups were also involved in a wide range of other forms of criminality, such as drug trafficking, (mainly marihuana and cocaine) and/or weapons trafficking. Nearly half of the identified crime groups are based in Central Canada, the region where most of the contraband tobacco originates and where the majority of illicit tobacco manufacturing operations are located.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit is an effective tool for law enforcement in their effort to eliminate organized crime’s involvement in the illicit tobacco industry.
This unit will build on past enforcement successes by the RCMP and its law enforcement partners, such as the 25 organized crime groups disrupted between April 2008 and May 2009, and the 975,000 cartons of illegal cigarettes seized nation-wide in 2009.
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