A ticket for excessive speeding in B.C.’s Interior turned into a sizeable seizure of illegal tobacco.
The B.C. RCMP’s Integrated Road Safety Unit (IRSU) in Revelstoke say the seizure happened last week, on Wednesday, March 17, when an officer conducting speed enforcement on the Trans-Canada Highway pulled over a van doing 150 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.
Police say as the officer approached the van, he noticed that the van’s seats were all folded down, with the cargo area containing numerous large boxes wrapped in white plastic.
“The officer questioned the driver, a man in his 30s, and passenger, a man in his 60s, both from Alberta,” said RCMP Traffic Services.
The officer then told the driver that the van would be impounded for excessive speed.
RCMP say the officer then conducted routine checks on the two suspects.
“As a result of the information learned and the behaviour of the driver, (the officer) formed the grounds to believe a criminal offence was being committed,” said Traffic Services.
“The officer, along with his partner, arrested both men for trafficking contraband tobacco and advised them of their charter rights.”
Traffic Services say the officers examined one box and found it contained illegal, unstamped tobacco.
They said a further search yielded 14 boxes containing 700 cartons, totalling 5,600 packs of illegal cigarettes. Police estimated the contraband at over $15,000.
Traffic Services stated the driver is facing charges under the Excise Act and a ticket for excessive speeding ($368 and three points). Further, the rental van was impounded at the driver’s expense.
The suspect was released with a future court date, while the passenger was released without charge.
“The mandate of B.C. RCMP Traffic Services is to keep B.C.’s highways safe by enforcing those offences that cause serious injury and fatal collisions, including high-risk driving behaviour like excessive speed,” said police.
“In some cases, traffic stops lead to the discovery of criminal behaviour and the seizure of drugs, weapons, cash and other contraband.”
B.C. RCMP Traffic Services has more than 40 units across the province. They are responsible for policing provincial highways outside of municipal jurisdictions and include the IRSU units co-located with provincial traffic units.