RCMP nab 858,800 illegal cigarettes in highway stop

Two men, aged 67 and 32 are facing charges after a trailer was found hauling 858,800 contraband cigarettes.
Manitoba stood to lose $249,052 in tax revenues had the shipment of contraband cigarettes reached the black market. (Canadian Press)

Two men, aged 67 and 32 are facing charges after a trailer was found hauling 858,800 contraband cigarettes.

The bust, made by the RCMP and members of the Manitoba Finance Special Investigation Unit, happened Feb. 7 on the Trans-Canada Highway near the junction with Highway 207, just southeast of Winnipeg.

The vehicle and trailer were seized and towed to a compound in Winnipeg.

The cigarettes were mixed brands not marked or stamped for Manitoba tax purposes, according to a press release from the province.

The men from Fort Alexander face charges connected to unmarked cigarettes.

They face fines of $1,000 to $10,000 and/or up to six months in jail, as well as a triple tax penalty of $747,156.

The provincial press release says if the cigarettes had been sold on the black market, Manitoba would have lost $249,052 in tax revenues.

The individuals may also face charges under the federal Excise Act as none of the cigarettes contained required federal marking regulations.