Wednesday, February 08, 2012

RCMP makes another big bust in Rural Manitoba

February 8, 2012


Three people, including two brothers and a 48-year-old woman, all from the Rural Municipality (RM) of Rosser, face a number of charges following the execution of a search warrant Feb. 2, by the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit and the RCMP Customs and Excise Section.
The enforcement agencies report the search warrant, carried out at two private residences in the RM, netted 1.45 million contraband cigarettes, and about C$418,203 and US$5,208 in cash.  Three long guns and two loaded handguns were also seized.  The two men were arrested by members of the RCMP at the scene.
All three face provincial charges for possession of non‑Manitoba-marked tobacco under the Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.  If convicted, each faces fines of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to three months or both.  The potential Manitoba tobacco taxes avoided are $326,250.  A tax penalty of $978,750 would also be assessed if there are convictions.
A 67-year-old man was remanded in custody and has since been released by the court.  He faces charges of possession of tobacco products not stamped in accordance with the Excise Act (2001), and numerous Criminal Code firearm-related offences including unsafe storage of firearms and ammunition, unauthorized possession of a restricted weapon (no firearms license and no registration certificate), possessing a restricted firearm (handgun) and possessing a prohibited firearm (handgun).
A 66-year-old man will also face charges under the Excise Act.  He was released on a promise to appear in Winnipeg court on April 30.
Manitoba Finance and the RCMP continue the investigation.
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 the tax purposes of Manitoba.  Not only can a business or individual be charged for selling unmarked tobacco, it is an offence to be found in possession of such tobacco.  People possessing unmarked tobacco can face charges under the Tobacco Tax Act leading to fines of between $1,000 and $10,000 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 department, the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, the RCMP Customs and Excise Section at 204-983-5423 or email at, or Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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