Manitoba’s Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit has seized 60,060 contraband cigarettes in three separate cases.
Investigators executed search warrants at the Variety Taste Restaurant at 613 Sargent Avenue on March 25 in Winnipeg, an associated vehicle and a nearby residence.
Seized from the store were 38 cartons of various brands of cigarettes (7,600 cigarettes) that were not marked for tax purposes in Manitoba. Also seized was $1,345 in cash.
A man faces charges under the Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.
In another incident, a search warrant was executed at the Maw and Paw Collectables store at 583 Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg on April 17. This search turned up 112.3 cartons of cigarettes (22,460 cigarettes) not marked for tax purposes in Manitoba, along with $4,766.90 in cash.
Two men are facing charges, including several for the sale of non-Manitoba marked cigarettes and wilful evasion of paying Manitoba tobacco tax.
In the third case, a 66-year-old Winnipeg man was stopped driving west on the Trans-Canada Highway in the Falcon Lake area. Seized were 150 cartons of cigarettes (30,000 cigarettes) that did not bear tax markings for Manitoba. In addition, 100 of the cartons did not carry tax markings for Canada.
He is facing charges under the Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.
In total, Manitoba stood to lose $17,417 in taxes.
All four suspects will appear in court at a later date.