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Indian Head RCMP seize $5.4M worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco

INDIAN HEAD – RCMP charged two men from Ontario after they seized approximately $5.4 million worth of cigarettes and 1,356 kg of shisha tobacco following a traffic stop on Nov. 10.

Saskatchewan RCMP Highway Patrol officers with the Provincial Protective Services Branch conducted a traffic stop on Highway 1 just east of Indian Head and observed evidence that the semi was transporting illegal cigarettes. They searched the semi and trailer and found 18 pallets, each containing 30 boxes of un-stamped tobacco.

“This is a very significant seizure of contraband tobacco – the largest I’ve seen in my career,” said Indian Head RCMP Sgt. Ryan Case.

“The sale of illegal tobacco has many effects on Saskatchewan and its residents," he added. "When you buy contraband tobacco, you have no idea how and where it is manufactured. There is no quality control like you find with legal manufacture and that presents extra risk to smokers. Also, contraband tobacco reduces revenue for business owners through legal sales, but also represents tax loss for our province. Lastly, the manufacture and trafficking of contraband tobacco is often tied to organized crime groups. We seized 5.4 million un-stamped cigarettes through this joint effort with Saskatchewan Highway Patrol – and we will continue to work to disrupt the trafficking of illegal tobacco in our communities.”

Indian Head RCMP took over the investigation, in consultation with the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol and enforcement officers in the revenue division with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Finance.

Indian Head RCMP charged the occupants of the semi from Hamilton, Ont. They are each charged with two counts of selling tobacco and raw leaf tobacco, unlawful possession or sale of tobacco products, unlawfully importing tobacco into Saskatchewan, and possession, or authorize/cause another person to be in possession of unmarked tobacco.

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