Two Manitoba men are facing charges and fines after more than 300,000 contraband cigarettes were seized this week.
Winnipeg police and officials with the Manitoba Finance Taxation Division Special Investigations Unit stopped and detained the men in the Rural Municipality of Rosser on Wednesday.
Searches of vehicles and a private garage in Winnipeg uncovered 1,564 cartons and six packages — a total of 312,950 cigarettes — not marked for legal sale in Manitoba, the provincial government announced Friday.
Another search of a vehicle and two homes in the Rosser area revealed $31,135 in cash, which officials believe are the proceeds of crime, and a loaded firearm.
A 69-year-old man and a 67-year-old man from the RM of Rosser face charges under Manitoba's tobacco and taxation laws of possessing non-Manitoba marked cigarettes.
The men face fines ranging between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months in jail, as well as a triple tax penalty of $272,266.50, according to the province.
Winnipeg police said the 69-year-old man has also been charged with failing to comply with a court order.
The provincial government says Manitoba would have lost $90,755.50 in tax revenues if the contraband tobacco had reached the black market.