Contraband cigarettes

Police seized 60 cartons of contraband cigarettes this week in Penticton.

Sixty cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized by police during a routine traffic stop Monday in Penticton.

“Our officers are conducting numerous pro-active patrols to keep our city safe. Officers never know what items or people they'll come in contact with,” Penticton RCMP spokesman Const. James Grandy said in a press release.

The bust happened around 3 p.m. in a parking lot in the area of Industrial Avenue and Main Street. The illicit smokes were found in the vehicle’s trunk.

Charges are being considered.

Police pegged the street value at $6,000 or $10 a pack. Contraband cigarettes contain tobacco on which no duty or taxes have been paid.

According to a paper submitted to a Parliamentary budget committee in August 2019 by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, Ontario is the “epicentre” of the country’s black market for cigarettes, which come primarily from 50 illegal production facilities on First Nations land in Ontario and Quebec.

The report estimates contraband tobacco products cost senior levels of government about $2 billion annually in the form of lost tax revenue.