Two investigations by the Manitoba Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit and RCMP have netted 1,176,600 contraband cigarettes.
A traffic stop on the Trans-Canada Highway October 2 just east of Richer, Manitoba turned up 488,800 illegal cigarettes, as well as 149 1.75-litre bottles of non-duty paid alcohol.
Jason Michael Rondeau, 37, of Thunder Bay was arrested and faces several charges.
The second bust on October 27 uncovered 687,800 cigarettes and $3,000 in cash while being loaded into a vehicle from a business in a Winnipeg back lane.
Three men were arrested at the scene and the items seized. They all face similar charges.
Manitoba stood to lose $347,097 in tax revenue if these cigarettes had been sold. If convicted, the men face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months in prison. They will also face a mandatory triple tax penalty of $432,588 for the October 2 seizure and $608,703 for the October 27 seizure.
Contraband tobacco can be reported to local police, or to the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at (204) 945-1137, email [email protected] or call Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS (8477).