Hummer Seized and Ottawa and Toronto Resident Arrested for Possession of Contraband Tobacco
CORNWALL, ON, April 16 /CNW/ - A 19 year old female driver from Ottawa, Ontario and a 24 year old male passenger from Toronto, Ontario face charges for possession of a tobacco product not properly stamped under authority of the Excise Act 2001 when the vehicle they were travelling in was stopped by officers from the Cornwall RCMP Detachment. On April 15th, 2009, an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency working with officers from the Cornwall RCMP Detachment observed a 2003 Hummer H2 travel from Akwesasne, Ontario towards Cornwall, Ontario. Officers from the RCMP stopped the vehicle on South Branch Road in Cornwall and observed clear garbage bags containing fine cut tobacco. RCMP officers seized 17 garbage bags containing 433 kilograms of fine cut tobacco which is believed to have been smuggled into Canada from the United States. Officers also seized the 2003 Hummer H2. Both occupants were arrested and will appear at the Cornwall court on May 19th, 2009. "This is the second Hummer H2 we have seized in the past few weeks used to transport illicit tobacco", said Sgt. Michael Harvey from the RCMP. "Organized crime groups often attempt to change their methods of operation to avoid attracting police attention. In the past organizations were using older model vehicles." Pictures of the seizure are also available upon request or at the following web site; http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/on/news-nouvelles/index-eng.htm
For further information: Sgt. Michael Harvey, RCMP Cornwall Detachment, (613) 937-2831
Two Convictions for Possession of 409,800 Unmarked Cigarettes
Ontario's Tough Tobacco Tax Laws at Work TORONTO, April 17 /CNW/ - Two individuals were convicted and fined a total of $152,830 for Tobacco Tax Act offences in the Ontario Court of Justice in Cornwall. On March 19, 2009, John Deer of Kahnawake, Que. was found guilty of possession of 220,000 unmarked cigarettes for the purpose of sale. Deer was fined $82,010 and must pay $20,502 to the Victims' Justice Fund. Sheila Sandy of Oshweken, Ont., found in possession of 189,800 unmarked cigarettes, was convicted on March 12, 2009 of the same offence. Sandy was fined $70,820 and must pay $17,705 to the Victims' Justice Fund. The Ministry of Revenue's Special Investigations Branch laid charges after the Cornwall Community Police Service pulled over the vehicles on Brookdale Avenue in Cornwall in two separate incidents in May and February 2008, respectively. In both cases, the seized contraband cigarettes were forfeited to the Ontario government. The Government of Ontario has many enforcement measures to discourage the sale of contraband tobacco. The Tobacco Tax Act has been strengthened with new inspection and seizure powers, new offence provisions, increased fines, jail provisions, civil penalties, and provisions that permit tax investigators to share intelligence information with police and other agencies that enforce tobacco-related laws. A proposed amendment to suspend the driver's licences of persons convicted of certain tobacco offences under the act is contained in the Budget Measures Act, 2009. The amendment is one of several in the 2009 Budget, which - if approved by the Legislature - would continue to build on measures enacted over the past five years to strengthen tobacco tax enforcement. Ministry investigators and inspectors have seized approximately 66 million contraband cigarettes over the past two years.
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