Cigarette smuggling investigation leads to more charges, recovery of stolen property

Brandon police say they've recovered more illegal cigarettes and stolen property related to an ongoing smuggling investigation. Global News / File

An investigation into an allegedly record-setting illegal cigarette smuggling operation has resulted in additional charges and the seizure of more smokes and stolen property.

On Sept. 16, police in Brandon announced they had seized more than 3.5 million illegal cigarettes in a trailer believed to be returning from Ontario, and at a storage locker in Brandon.

The Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit says it was the largest single seizure in its history.

Read more: Enormous seizure of contraband tobacco part of growing trend in Manitoba, authorities say

Brandon police now say that investigation led them to raid three additional properties in the city, where they allegedly recovered another 560,000 contraband cigarettes.

Officers also say they found a “large quantity” of stolen power tools believed to be taken from the city and surrounding area.

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Subsequently, two of the four suspects originally arrested are now facing additional charges of possession of property obtained by crime and more charges related to the smokes.

Police believe the stolen property was being exchanged for the cigarettes.

The police service values the stolen property at around $50,000 and says some has been returned, while officers are still trying to identify the owners of other items.