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More than 2 million illegal cigarettes seized in Winnipeg raids

Police in Winnipeg seized over two million contraband cigarettes during raids early this month.
Police in Winnipeg seized over two million contraband cigarettes during raids early this month. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Three people are facing charges after police in Winnipeg made a record-setting seizure of contraband cigarettes earlier this month.

In all, investigators seized 2,050,300 cigarettes Feb. 13 — the largest single seizure in the history of Manitoba Finance’s Special Investigations Unit.

The seizure followed a joint investigation between the unit and Winnipeg police into the sale of contraband cigarettes at multiple retail stores in Winnipeg.

The province says it stood to lose $615,090 in taxes through the sale of the illicit cigarettes.

READ MORE: Manitoba RCMP seize 1.2 million illegal cigarettes during traffic stop

Police seized just over $93,000 in cash and two vehicles.

Two men and a woman, all from Winnipeg, are facing a number of charges under Manitoba’s Tax Act and Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act, as well as criminal charges.

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First-time offenders face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months behind bars, as well as a potential triple tax penalty.

The province says two of the accused have prior convictions, meaning they face fines between $10,000 and $50,000 and/or up to one-year in jail as well as a potential quadruple tax penalty.

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RAW: Winnipeg police seize millions in drugs, tobacco during Project Highland raids