Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit, along with members of the Ontario Ministry of Finance’s Compliance Branch, recently completed a joint contraband tobacco enforcement.
As a result, a westbound semi-truck was stopped in Manitoba and a search warrant executed. In total 1,060,000 contraband cigarettes were seized. Manitoba stood to lose $318,000 in tax revenue if these products had been sold.
A 34-year-old Calgary resident now faces a variety of charges under The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act, The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act, and the Criminal Code. The individual may face a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment, as well as a potential triple tax penalty of $954,000.
In addition to the contraband tobacco, the seizure also included 42 pounds of illegal cannabis.
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 or Manitoba CrimeStoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).