LONDON: The London Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have charged 9 persons after investigating various groups that were allegedly involved in the production and distribution of illegal tobacco.
The investigations began after the RCMP received information that several Southwestern Ontario tobacco growers were involved in producing more tobacco then they were legally allowed and selling the additional tobacco through the ‘black market’.
As the investigations unfolded, it was determined that various growers and brokers were involved in the illegal sale of large amounts of raw leaf tobacco as well as finished tobacco products. The RCMP employed a number of police techniques during these investigations and executed numerous search warrants to gather evidence.
Over the past week, members from the RCMP conducted numerous operations throughout Southwestern Ontario which included the execution of 6 search warrants and the arrest of 9 persons. Arrested persons have been charged with various offences relating to the sale and distribution of illegal tobacco under the Criminal Code, the Excise Act (2001) and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The people arrested will be making court appearances over the next few weeks and further arrests and charges are anticipated.
“Contraband tobacco introduces criminal activity directly into our communities and supports the growth of an underground economy that poses a serious threat to public safety,” stated Superintendent Jamie Jagoe, Ontario RCMP – Southwest District Commander. He added, “Profits from the sale of contraband tobacco are often used to fund other illegal activities, such as the movement of drugs, weapons and money laundering operations.”