Special Investigations Unit in Manitoba, Canada, seizes an estimated 54 cartons, or 10,800 contraband cigarettes, in Pipestone region

OTTERBURNE, Manitoba , December 1, 2011 (press release) – Manitoba Finance reports that yesterday its Special Investigations Unit seized approximately 54 cartons or 10,800 contraband cigarettes in the Pipestone area.

Forty-eight cartons of cigarettes, which did not have Manitoba Tax markings or stamps and therefore are not legal to sell or possess in Manitoba, were seized from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop and a further six cartons of contraband cigarettes were also seized from two individuals leaving the premises.

The RCMP, who were already on site investigating an unrelated complaint, were asked to remain present to ensure the peace was kept.

Investigation of this matter continues and charges are pending against those alleged to have sold the cigarettes.

On Nov. 15, Manitoba Finance’s Special Investigations Unit, with the assistance from the RCMP, seized approximately 89,550 contraband cigarettes from the same location. The investigation of that seizure continues and charges are also pending in that incident.

The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act prohibit the possession and the sale of cigarettes in the province 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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