May 8, 2010 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian border authorities have made the largest counterfeit tobacco seizure in B.C. history.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the RCMP’s Federal Border Integrity Program’s Customs and Excise Team announced Wednesday, May 5th that they had seized more than 50,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes with a street value of $3.4 million at the Port of Vancouver.
CBSA officers at the port made the discovery on April 15 when they sent for a secondary check a marine container, declared as household sinks destined for an address in Richmond, that had arrived from China.
“Our officers are skilled in observing inconsistencies, and so the interception was purely the result of vigilance on the part of the CBSA officers,” said Faith St. John, spokeswoman for the CBSA. “But the declaration did indicate that the shipment contained household sinks. And when the officers X-rayed the shipment they noticed inconsistencies in the images.”
“And so when they opened the boxes they found that there were boxes of cartons of cigarettes hidden inside the shipment.”
St. John said that RCMP officers determined that the cigarettes were counterfeit cigarettes packaged as “Canadian and U.S. brands” along with Chinese brands “that are not normally available here.”
RCMP investigators launched an investigation to determine the recipients of the contraband cigarettes and on April 19 arrested six Lower Mainland men, who have since been released without charges.
“We’re going to make sure that we gather all the relevant evidence before we submit our report to Crown,” said Sgt. Duncan Pound of the RCMP’s Federal Border Integrity Team “This is the largest-ever tobacco seizure of counterfeit product destined for British Columbia.” Pound said the forces believes the cigaretttes “were going to be sold here in British Columbia.”
“This amount of illegal tobacco costs the public millions of dollars in lost duties and taxes when not regulated.”
Reference: $3.4 million worth of counterfeit tobacco seized in B.C.'s biggest bust by Jack Keating (email@example.com), The Province, 5/5/2010.
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