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Highway patrol seizes big haul of illegal cigarettes near Duncan

Officers discovered the contraband cigarettes, worth about $400,000, after pulling over a truck towing a trailer near Duncan for suspected impaired driving.
The truck and trailer that was carrying 46 cases on contraband cigarettes. Each case of cigarettes contains 50 cartons, which amounts to about 460,000 individual cigarettes. BC HIGHWAY PATROL

B.C. Highway Patrol officers who pulled over a truck towing a trailer near Duncan last month for suspected impaired driving discovered contraband cigarettes worth about $400,000.

Sgt. Brad Robinson, unit commander of the highway patrol’s Duncan division, said 46 cases of unstamped and untaxed cigarettes were found in the trailer and the driver was arrested for trafficking-related offences.

Police said the investigation continues with federal and provincial authorities. Robinson anticipates charges will be recommended against the driver under the Excise Act, Criminal Code of Canada and Tobacco Tax Act.

Robinson said unstamped tobacco is a growing concern and often associated with organized crime.

He said the seizure represents more than $250,000 in lost tax revenue, noting taxes collected from tobacco products support the health-care system.

Officers made the traffic stop on June 15, after noting the vehicle was travelling well under the posted speed limit on the Trans-Canada Highway near Duncan and the driver was having difficulty maintaining lane position, police said.

Each of the 46 cases of cigarettes contain 50 cartons of smokes. The entire bust was the equivalent of 460,000 individual cigarettes.

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