A Manitoba man faces charges after authorities there and in Ontario allege he was caught with millions of illegal cigarettes.
The Manitoba government says the 44-year-old was stopped and arrested by Ontario Provincial Police on Nov. 29, east of Thunder Bay, while allegedly smuggling more than 2.5 million cigarettes he had recently bought in Quebec and was bringing to Manitoba for resale.
He was released by the OPP and faces charges in Ontario, but Manitoba Finance's Taxation Special Investigations Unit continued to watch him when he returned to Winnipeg.
On Dec. 2, Manitoba authorities say he was spotted leaving his home contrary to COVID-19 quarantine regulations and was seen driving to various locations in Winnipeg.
He was arrested again and was allegedly in possession of 220,000 illegal cigarettes.
The government alleges search warrants at two locations in Winnipeg revealed a further 650,000 illegal smokes.
Daniel Deschamps faces charges under the Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act, the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act and the Criminal Code, and also faces charges for failing to quarantine under Manitoba's COVID-19 restrictions.
The Manitoba government says the province stood to lose $261,000 in tax revenue if the cigarettes had been sold.
The province says that if the accused is convicted, he faces fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and up to six months imprisonment.
It says he also faces a tax penalty of $783,000 and forfeiture of his vehicle.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2020.
The Canadian Press