Tobacco Arrests for week Ending August 28, 2009

Here’s this weeks round up from the RCMP’s Michael Harvey:

Cornwall RCMP make Six Contraband Tobacco Seizures in Three Days
(Cornwall, Ontario -Thursday August 27th , 2009) – Officers from the Cornwall RCMP working with various law enforcement agencies have made six contraband tobacco seizures in three days resulting in three individuals facing a charge for possession of a tobacco product not properly stamped according to the Excise Act 2001.
The tobacco product seized are believed to have been smuggled into Canada from the United States.
On August 24th, 2009, RCMP officers observed suspicious activity near a pathway on Haulage Street in Cornwall, Ontario.  When officers approached the pathway, they observed four unidentified males carrying hockey bags.  The officers identified themselves and the males dropped the bags, fled towards the St. Lawrence River and boarded a boat that was off shore and fled.  Officers continued to search the bush area and seized 20 hockey bags containing a total of 2,000 resealable bags of contraband cigarettes.  While recovering the bags, two males on personal water craft returned to the shoreline and the RCMP Marine Security Enforcement Team attended the scene and seized a 2008 Sea Doo GTI that was beached while the operator fled on foot.  The other personal water craft and operator fled the area.  No arrests have been made and the investigation continues.
On August 25th,2009, RCMP officers followed a 1997 Ford Expedition towing a 7.5 metre Avana 2500 cuddy boat in South Glengarry, Ontario.  Officers stopped the vehicle on Fraser Road.  Investigation at the scene revealed that there were cardboard boxes containing resealable bags of contraband cigarettes located inside the sleeping area of the boat.  The officers seized 3,297 resealable bags of contraband cigarettes, the Ford Expedition and the Avana boat with trailer.  The driver, a 39 year old male resident from Cornwall, Ontario was arrested and will appear at the Alexandria court on November 4th, 2009.
During the evening of August 25th, 2009, RCMP officers observed a vessel on the St. Lawrence River near the shore close to the Kinsmen Soccer fields in Cornwall, Ontario.  The officers then observed two males walking back and forth from the bicycle path to the Haulage Street entrance carrying a large black bag.  The officers then followed a 2000 Chevrolet Venture van from Haulage Street and stopped the van on Cornwall Centre Road.  Officers seized 301 resealable bags of contraband cigarettes located inside the van as well as the vehicle.  The 59 year old driver and the 22 year old passenger, both residents from Gatineau, Quebec were arrested and will appear at the Cornwall court on October 29th, 2009.  The passenger will also face a Criminal Code charge for breaching the conditions of a previous probation order.
On August 26th, 2009, RCMP officers were called to the Port of Entry located in Cornwall, Ontario to seize a 2000 Ford F-150 pick-up truck that was abandoned by the driver.  RCMP officers also seized 1,150 cartons of Discount Full Flavor cigarettes located inside the truck.  No arrests were made and the investigation continues.
Later on the same date, officers from the Canada Border Services Agency at the Cornwall Port of Entry inspected a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and located contraband cigarettes inside the trunk of the vehicle.  RCMP officers were contacted to assist and seized the 600 resealable bags of contraband cigarettes as well as the vehicle.  The driver, a 32 year old female resident from Akwesasne, Ontario was arrested and released and this investigation continues.
Finally, on the same date, while officers from the Canada Border Services Agency at the Cornwall Port of Entry were inspecting a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, the driver sped away from the inspection lane.  Shortly afterwards, RCMP officers located the vehicle abandoned in a parking lot of a Brookdale Avenue shopping centre.  The officers seized 700 resealable bags of contraband cigarettes as well as the vehicle.  The driver was not located and the investigation continues.

“There is a risk to public safety when operators of vessels at night on the St. Lawrence River are not using any lights and cannot be seen by other boaters or ships”, said Sgt. Michael Harvey from the RCMP.  “There is also a risk to the public when vehicles speed away from law enforcement during their interdiction with a driver.  This is not just about saving money on a carton of cigarettes.  The buyers of illicit tobacco products are fueling this unsafe environment.”

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  1. “The buyers of illicit tobacco products are fueling this unsafe environment.”

    Some could say that these ludicrous government taxes on tobacco products could also be fueling this unsafe environment. If the prices returned to a more favorable range, as they did in the 90’s (which killed the smuggling trade then), then I’m sure things may return to normal again.

    I know the main reason for the high taxes is touted as deterrence. Could just be that the government wants a bigger piece as well though. But regardless, if you think about it, with all that is being spent on the policing, and of course all the other factors involved, I’m sure the government would bring in more if they lowered the cost of legal tobacco, and effectively killed off the illegal trade again. Right now, all that money that is going to illegal smokes, the government isn’t seeing at all. So they get a token bust here and there. But they would take in more if they lowered the cost, then people would buy the legal ones again.

  2. Author

    Yes, but then the government wouldn’t get to play on the river with their toys. 🙂 Governments have been compared to the mafia in a lot of ways and in some ways I can understand that thought.

    During the Depression the gangs had booze, gambling, girls, and political influence as their bread and butter. Jump nearly 100 years and now governments control the $$ from booze and gambling. In some places they get the $$ for sex as well, and I have a hunch the next few years of recession and Depression will see the legalizing and taxation of drugs as well.

    It seems in society that there’s always someone with a billy jack waiting to take more of our money for things some may enjoy doing…..

  3. well, obviously we learned nothing from Nixon and his war on drugs !! That has done nothing but lock up non violent criminals in a privatized jail settings. While more violent criminals walk free. billions and billions of dollars spent to stamp out marijuana and cocaine while synthetic drugs are manufactured in our own back yards!

    Same can be said for this war on Tobacco, Who profits from this ? Law Enforcement does.. And obviously the Government does. I mean in the bigger picture what is going on here is not that major if the Government wasn’t losing money on the “Cheaper” alternative they wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it.

    And now we see people running right into Cornwall with boat loads of Cigarettes.. Something we never had a problem with before!

  4. I think people are missing the big picture. Sure governments love taxes, however, Tobacco taxes are justified. What else is going to keep the health care system going if smokers don’t pay their share for their right to smoke, and thus their smoking related illnesses. I am sure that the majority of those taxes don’t see their way into the health care system, but how much of that financial burden could it absorb if cigarettes were as low as they were in the 90’s. Perhaps people should just stop smoking, there is nothing good about it, same with excessive drinking, etc.

  5. Author

    I think the government is playing slide guitar with this issue. The amount of new smokers is diminishing as is the living population of smokers. The game is to keep the taxation level at a point to continue that trend while paying for the health care of those that succumb to smoking related illness.

    Cheap ciggies defeats that model.

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