RCMP say a haul of illegal cigarettes found when a driver was pulled over near Brandon this week is likely the largest seizure of contraband tobacco ever found during a traffic stop in Canada.
Manitoba RCMP’s roving traffic unit pulled the westbound driver over on the Trans-Canada Highway, just east of Brandon, on Sunday around 11:20 a.m.
After talking with the driver, officers decided to inspect his load and say they found 350 cases of illegal tobacco.
The cases contained 3.5 million illegal cigarettes, according to police.
“We believe that this is one of the largest seizures of illegal tobacco from a traffic stop in Canada,” said Staff Sgt. Kyle McFadyen of the Manitoba RCMP’s Traffic Services.
“It really speaks to the importance of the Manitoba RCMP’s Roving Traffic Unit. This unit is comprised of officers with specialized training who work to identify potential criminals travelling on our roadways. The officers do this work as they conduct Highway Traffic Act enforcement.”
A 36-year-old man from Calgary is facing criminal charges for trafficking tobacco, the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act (TAMTA) and the Excise Act, 2001.
If convicted, police say he could face a mandatory triple tax penalty of more than $3 million.
RCMP continue to investigate.