OAKVILLE, ON - The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) praised the work of members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Greater Toronto Area Customs and Excise Section along with Canada Border Services Agency, and the Ontario Ministry of Finance in disrupting a major illegal tobacco manufacturing network found operating from a Mississauga, Ontario warehouse.
The RCMP reported that as a result of the search conducted by these government agencies, seven tractor-trailer loads of cigarette producing materials including two cigarette manufacturing machines and tobacco manufacturing equipment, some raw-leaf tobacco, and close to $50,000 were seized under the Excise Act, 2001.
"The fact that an illegal cigarette manufacturing operation of this size was operating from a non-descript warehouse in Mississauga demonstrates how widespread and pervasive the problem of illegal tobacco is in Ontario," said Dave Bryans, CEO of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association. "Whether these cigarettes are illegally manufactured in Ontario or smuggled into the province, they consistently provide organized crime groups with a highly profitable enterprise that often goes to fund other, more serious, criminal activities."
"The RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, and the Ontario Ministry of Finance all did an excellent job investigating and breaking up this illegal cigarette network. And as law-abiding retailers, we applaud their efforts in tackling what we know is a difficult problem to solve," added Bryans. "Illegal cigarettes have not only robbed governments of billions in tax dollars, they're circumventing the tough age checks and responsible sale measures our industry has developed to keep tobacco out of the hands of kids. It's in everyone's interest to work collectively to put an end to this illegal trade and we thank Canadian law enforcement and government agencies for their continued work."
In addition to the enforcement activities that are ongoing, the OCSA also highlighted its anticipation to see the new resources and regulatory measures the Ontario Government has committed to bring to bear in this fight. Promised in this year's Ontario budget, retailers hope these measures are implemented as soon as possible.