Sgt. Michael Harvey: RCMP Illegal Cigarette Arrests March 26-31, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Sgt. Michael Harvey: RCMP Illegal Cigarette Arrests March 26-31, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – As a result of surveillance operations conducted from March 26th to March 31st, 2010 targeting illegal contraband tobacco smuggling,  the RCMP, in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Ministry of Revenue and assisted by the Cornwall Community Police Service and Canada Border Services Agency carried out several operations in the South Glengarry and Cornwall region.  These operations led to the seizure of 10,150 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes.

In addition to illegal tobacco products, the officers seized 6 vehicles.  A total of 7 individuals were also arrested each facing a charge for possession of a tobacco product not properly stamped under authority of the Excise Act 2001.

On March 26th, 2010, at 10:00 p.m., officers located two suspicious vehicles parked in an empty lot on County Road 2 in Cornwall, Ontario.  Both vehicles were unoccupied when officers attended.  Officers seized a “Scentote” and a “CCM” duffle bag containing a total of 250 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes from inside the unlocked 1997 Plymouth Voyageur van.  Another vehicle was also searched but nothing was located inside.  No suspects were located and the investigation continues.

On March 27th, 2010, at 10:29 p.m., officers observed two suspicious vehicles coming out from a known smuggling area in South Glengarry, Ontario.  Officers stopped a 1998 Ford F-150 pick-up truck on Highway 401 eastbound and seized 1,000 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes.  A 19 year old female driver from Akwesasne, Ontario was arrested. Officers also stopped 1998 Dodge Caravan when the driver exited Highway 401 and abandoned the van on 1st Line Road.  Shortly after, investigation led to the arrest of a female.  Officers seized 2,000 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes from the van.  The female is from Akwesasne, Ontario who is a youth as defined under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  Both drivers  were released with conditions to appear at court on a later date.

On March 27th, 2010, at 11:45 p.m., officers observed a 2003 Ford F150 leaving a marina in Cornwall, Ontario and was stopped in the parking lot close by.  Officers searched the truck and seized 1,450 Montagne Tips brand cigarettes and 50 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes.  The 51 year old male driver from Cornwall, Ontario was arrested and released to appear at court on a later date.

On March 29th, 2010, at 9:15 p.m., officers observed a man loading a 2000 Ford Windstar van close to the St. Lawrence River on Montreal Road in Cornwall, Ontario.  Officers seized 1,150 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes and the van.  The investigation continues and no arrests have been made.

On March 30th, 2010, at 3:45 a.m., officers observed suspects offloading cardboard boxes of contraband cigarettes from three boats onto shore and into three pick-up trucks close to the St. Lawrence River in South Glengarry, Ontario .  Officers attempted to stop the three trucks before they reached Highway 401.  Officers were able to stop two of the trucks and seized 1,500 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes from a 2003 GMC Sierra pick-up truck as well as the truck.  The driver identified as 46 year old Gaetan Tremblay from Kahnawake, Quebec was arrested and charged. He was held in custody for a Bail hearing.  Officers seized 1,250 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes from the second truck described as a 1998 Ford F-150 as well as the truck.  The driver identified as 21 year old Sarah Boyer from Kahnawake, Quebec was charged and held in custody.  She plead guilty and was fined $42,500 and placed on two years probation and must complete 200 hours of community service.  She also received a condition not to attend Cornwall Island during those two years. Both drivers also face a charge for possession of unmarked cigarettes under authority of the Tobacco Tax Act.

On March 31st, 2010, at 9:40 a.m., officers stopped a 2000 Chevrolet Venture van on Highway 401 eastbound in South Glengarry, Ontario and observed the van to contain cardboard boxes of contraband cigarettes covered by clothing and blankets.  Officers seized 1,150 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes as well as the vehicle.  The 31 year old male driver from Cornwall, Ontario was arrested and released to appear at court on a later date. He also faces a charge for possession of unmarked tobacco under authority of the Tobacco Tax Act.

On March 31st, 2010, at 10:20 a.m., officers stopped a 2000 Dodge Caravan on Highway 401 eastbound in South Glengarry, Ontario.  Officers observed the entire rear passenger area of the van to contain several cardboard boxes of contraband cigarettes.  Officers seized 1,350 re-sealable bags of contraband cigarettes as well as the van.  The driver, identified as 48 year old Frederick Roberts from Cornwall, Ontario was arrested and charged.  He was held in custody for a Bail hearing.  He is also charged for the Criminal Code charge of breaching a recognizance and faces a charge for possession of unmarked tobacco under authority of the Tobacco Tax Act.

“Many factors contribute to the continuation of Canada’s illegal tobacco market, including smokers’ motivation to find less expensive tobacco products, low public appreciation for the consequences of the illegal tobacco market, ease of access to illegal tobacco products, and the illicit manufacturing and sale of tobacco products”, said Sgt. Michael Harvey from the RCMP.  “The RCMP and its partners are raising awareness of the illegal tobacco market and the consequences of purchasing and possessing contraband tobacco, which is essential to reducing demand”.

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