When most people think of international smuggling, they think of contraband items like illicit drugs or weapons but one item is increasingly making its way to the black market: baby formula.
Global News has learned the Vancouver Police Department’s anti-fencing unit has seized approximately $50,000 worth of baby formula stolen from retail stores across the city.
“Baby formula has consistently been one of our top categories for theft. It’s something we’ve seen over the last several years,” Tammy Smitham, VP of external communications with Shoppers Drug Mart, told Global News.
From the street level, stolen goods work their way up the food chain of organized crime. Stolen formula is sold to regional buyers who repackage the formula and ship it overseas.
The biggest market is China where a can of formula can be resold for three times what it’s worth in Canada.
Smitham said Shoppers Drug Mart has gone to great lengths to deter thieves, including locking formula up alongside high-theft items like razors and perfume.
– With files from Rumina Daya