Following an investigation into the importation of illegal cigarettes from Ontario into Manitoba, members of the Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit and the Winnipeg Police Service seized 810,000 contraband cigarettes.

On April 13, Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit, with assistance from the Winnipeg Police Service, East District Community Support Unit, arrested Dennis Donald Lange, a 72-year-old male from the RM of Rosser.

The individual is facing charges under the Criminal Code of Canada for trafficking in contraband tobacco, The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act, and The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act for possessing non-Manitoba marked tobacco. In addition, there were two warrants of arrest for failure to appear in relation to outstanding previous charges. As a result, Lange was detained by the Winnipeg Police Service.

Manitoba stood to lose $238,950 in tax revenue if these cigarettes had been sold. If convicted, the individual faces fines between $10,000 and $50,000 and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment. In addition, due to a previous conviction the suspect faces a mandatory quadruple tax penalty of $955,800.

The province urges anyone who has information on contraband tobacco to contact their local police, the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, or Manitoba CrimeStoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222 TIPS(8477).