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Millions in contraband cigarette packaging seized by Hamilton RCMP

Hamilton/Niagara RCMP seized millions of dollars worth of contraband cigarette packaging in August, and police say smuggling in Canada is getting worse.
Police say smugglers are pushing more contraband cigarettes into Canada. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Hamilton/Niagara RCMP seized millions of dollars worth of contraband cigarette packaging in August, and police say smuggling in Canada is getting worse.

While examining some imported goods on Aug. 15, Canada Border Services Agency officers discovered a container of what appeared to be cigarette-packaging materials.

They contacted Hamilton/Niagara RCMP, who began investigating. Police found the shipment contained packaging for "DisCount" and "Native" cigarette brands as well as some domestic Canadian brands.

Police say these materials could have been used to make around two million cartons of contraband cigarettes, which would equal tens of millions of dollars in evaded duties and taxes.

"The majority of contraband tobacco was thought to be smuggled through other localized areas," said Insp. Steve Martin, officer in charge of the Hamilton/Niagara regional RCMP detachment.

"This investigation has shown that the contraband producers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to confuse tobacco consumers as well as law enforcement," Martin said. "The cooperation and assistance of our various partners such as CBSA is an integral part of the RCMP's efforts to fight contraband tobacco."

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the sale and manufacturing of contraband tobacco is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-265-4444.

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