RCMP officers in Port aux Basques conducted a planned traffic stop at the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal on November 19, 2022, and intercepted 2.7 million unstamped cigarettes.
The RCMP-RNC Joint Forces Operation West, assisted by RCMP Police Dog Services West and Channel-Port aux Basques RCMP, conducted a traffic stop on a truck and 15-foot enclosed utility trailer as it departed the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal.
The driver, a 30-year-old man, and a 55-year-old female passenger, both of Colliers, were arrested under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as well as the Excise Act. The truck and trailer were seized as part of the investigation. A search was conducted on both the truck and the trailer. Officers located 270 cases (2.7 Million cigarettes) of unstamped tobacco from inside the trailer.
The pair were released from custody. The investigation is continuing with charges expected.
Although crimes involving contraband tobacco are thought by many to be victimless in nature, the loss in revenue for business owners in legal sales, as well as residents of the province as a whole for the loss of tax revenue, has a great impact. The purchase of contraband tobacco supports the profits of those involved in the organized crime activity of trafficking contraband tobacco, as well as furthering other criminal activities of inter-provincial organized crime groups.
RCMP NL continues to fulfill its mandate to protect public safety, enforce the law, and ensure the delivery of priority policing services in Newfoundland and Labrador.