More than 800,000 contraband cigarettes — representing more than $250,000 in potential lost revenue — were seized by Manitoba finance investigators after a lengthy investigation, the province said Thursday.
The Taxation Special Investigations Unit (SIU) tracked down the illegal smokes at a number of retail locations throughout Winnipeg, including a number of gas stations, grocery and convenience stores.
The province said the seizures included Flight brand cigarettes, which are illegal in Canada.
In addition to confiscating a total of 836,354 cigarettes, investigators also seized a vehicle and 24 people are facing charges under various tax acts as well as the Criminal Code.
For first-time offenders, potential penalties for the tax violations include fines between $1,000-10,000, and/or up to six months imprisonment. There’s also a potential triple tax penalty which comes with hefty fines.
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