VicPD seizes 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes, $130K in cash

VicPD handout image
VicPD says over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized in February.

Victoria Police have joined the agencies making large contraband cigarette findings, seizing over 3,000 cartons last month.

On Feb. 22, officers witnessed a suspect selling cartons and packs of cigarettes in the 900 block of Pandora Avenue. After conducting more surveillance, the suspect was arrested on Feb. 24.

The investigators then conducted a search warrant at the suspect’s home in Esquimalt and seized over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes and $130,000 in cash.

VicPD says charges have not been laid or recommended at this time and the investigation is still ongoing.

In B.C., legitimate tobacco products must have a stamp.

The green stamp indicates it is tobacco intended for tax-paid sale in B.C. (B.C. government photo)The peach stamp indicates it is for tax-exempt sale through First Nations or duty free stores. (B.C. government photo)

The B.C. government says illegal and contraband tobacco threatens tax revenue, undermines efforts to reduce smoking rates, contributes to health and safety risks due to a lack of oversight, and compromises public safety by providing funds to criminal activity or organized crime.

Penalties for being involved with illegal tobacco activities include fines of up to $50,000 and up to two years imprisonment.

Just last month, police on Vancouver Island and the mainland set the record for the largest one-time seizure of contraband cigarettes in Victoria, Langley, Abbotsford and Surrey with approximately $11 million worth of contraband cigarettes seized.

READ PREVIOUS: Search warrants in Victoria, Lower Mainland uncover alleged drug trafficking org: CFSEU-BC

Three weeks later, RCMP in Maple Ridge and Mission broke that record with a seizure of 133,000 cartons of cigarettes.

READ PREVIOUS: B.C. RCMP announce seizure of millions of dollars worth of contraband cigarettes

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