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More arrests made in connection with illegal tobacco operation in Six Nations: police

The Ontario Provincial Police say the have arrested two more people in connection with a large-scale investigation into an illegal tobacco manufacturing facility on Six Nations territory — which they say is linked to organized crime.

A total of 18 people are now facing over 200 charges following Project Cairnes

Contraband cigarettes from the facility were being trafficked to other parts of the province and country, according to the OPP. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Ontario Provincial Police say they have arrested two more people in connection with a large-scale investigation into an illegal tobacco manufacturing facility on Six Nations territory — which they say has links to organized crime.

The operation, dubbed Project Cairnes, began in July 2018 and resulted in charges for a total of 218 offences on June 1 of this year. Sixteen people were initially charged. 

Provincial police say that as the investigation continued, they discovered two individuals "associated to legitimate businesses" had a hand in the manufacturing and distribution of the contraband tobacco.

The OPP say they initially seized 11.5 million contraband cigarettes as part of the operation, along with 1,714 pounds of cannabis (estimated street value of $2.5 million) and 1.14 kilograms of cocaine.

Seizures also included a cocaine press, three handguns, $236,750 in cash and seven vehicles. 

A 57-year-old man from Mississauga has been charged with four offences, including unlawfully manufacturing a tobacco product without a licence and participation in a criminal enterprise.

A Florida man, 70, was also arrested and charged with unlawfully manufacturing a tobacco product without a licence, according to a media release from the OPP.

Contraband cigarettes from the facility were being trafficked to other parts of the province and country, including British Columbia, where they were being sold on the street, according to the OPP.

Provincial police noted that though the facility was on Six Nations it was not legal and the group controlling it was from the Greater Toronto Area.

The cross-province investigation included the efforts of the OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, the RCMP and the Ministries of Finance in Ontario and B.C.

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