175,000 illegal cigarettes seized in Burlington


Published June 16, 2023 at 1:58 pm

A two-month-long investigation by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) has led to the seizure of 175,000 illegal cigarettes in Burlington.

But, because of the circumstances surrounding the case, further details about the investigation are scarce.

According to a ministry spokesperson, any seizure of tobacco products by the MOF is done under the Tobacco Tax Act, as such, no information that could potentially breach confidential taxpayer information can be released.

What is known is the cigarettes connected to Burlington did not contain the official stamp markings that otherwise prove that they were purchased in the province through the legitimate wholesale-retail-consumer chain. No stamp means that proper taxes were likely not paid and collected. It is not known if the cigarettes were seized from a business or from a private source.

As well, 19 people were arrested as a result of this investigation. However, their names have not been released so as not to breach any rules.

Unless otherwise permitted in the limited exceptions under the Tobacco Tax Act, it is illegal for anyone to purchase, possess or sell any quantity of cigarettes or package of fine-cut tobacco not marked with the Ontario-adapted federal stamp.

In the past year, more penalties of more than $2 million have been assessed under the Tobacco Tax Act. More than 10 million untaxed cigarettes, more than one million untaxed cigars, and more than 2.6 million grams of untaxed fine-cut or other tobacco products have been seized by the MFO during this period.

Penalties in these cases can be as high as $10,000 in fines and include jail time.



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