Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit (SIU), working in conjunction with the RCMP, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, Ontario Provincial Police and Quebec Provincial Police recently seized 470,500 contraband cigarettes and 2,000 cigars.
On Aug. 5 at approximately 6:30 p.m., the RCMP conducted a traffic stop on two vehicles travelling on PR 207. The officers conducted a legal search of the vehicles, and the tobacco products were seized because the cigarettes were not marked for Manitoba tax purposes. There was no proof the related Manitoba tobacco tax was paid to a registered collector or wholesaler for the cigars. The seizure also included $3,105 in cash.
The RCMP arrested Ross Livingston, 66, and Ernest Delaronde, 49, both of Winnipeg. The individuals are facing charges under the Criminal Code of Canada for trafficking contraband tobacco, as well as The Excise Act, The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.
Manitoba stood to lose approximately $139,365.50 in tax revenue if these cigarettes and cigars had been sold. If convicted, the individuals face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months’ imprisonment. In addition, they will face a mandatory triple tax penalty of $418,096.50.
The province urges anyone who has information on contraband tobacco to contact their local police department, call the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Manitoba Crime Stoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).