Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another bunch of smokes confiscated

December 21, 2011


Manitoba Finance reports its Special Investigations Unit seized approximately 156 cartons or 31,200 contraband cigarettes in the Pipestone area yesterday.  The RCMP assisted at the search scene and the search proceeded without incident.
There were 55 cartons of cigarettes seized from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop and a further 101 cartons were seized from a vehicle that was at the store.
The cigarettes seized from both the smoke shop and the vehicle did not have Manitoba tax markings or stamps, and therefore are not legal to sell or possess in Manitoba. 
Investigation of this matter continues and charges are pending against those alleged to have possessed or sold the cigarettes.
This is the third such seizure in the past five weeks.  On Nov. 15, approximately 89,550 contraband cigarettes were seized from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop.  On Nov. 21, a further 53 cartons were similarly seized.  Five people face a total of 28 charges under the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act for the previous two searches including:
  • possession of unmarked cigarettes,
  • selling unmarked cigarettes,
  • possession of tobacco for sale without a licence, and
  • operation of a business without valid tax authorization.
The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act prohibit the possession and the sale of cigarettes in Manitoba that are not marked or stamped for sale in Manitoba.
Not only can a business or individual be charged for selling unmarked contraband tobacco, it is also an offence to possess such tobacco.  People purchasing and possessing contraband cigarettes can face charges under the Tobacco Tax Act and fines between $500 and $5,000, with an additional tax penalty of triple the outstanding taxes.
If anyone has information on contraband tobacco, they are urged to contact their local police, the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137 or Crime Stoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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