News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 3, 2020

RETAIL COMPLIANCE EFFORTS RESULT IN CHARGES AND SEIZURES OF ILLEGAL TOBACCO AND CANNABIS



Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit and members of the Winnipeg Police Service recently seized 28,728 contraband cigarettes and a quantity of illegal cannabis in small individual packets from three Winnipeg retail locations, all owned and operated by the same people.
 
Four individuals were found selling, or in possession of, illegal tobacco products that were not marked for Manitoba tax purposes.  These individuals now face charges under The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.  The businesses face a suspension and possible revocation of their tobacco retail dealers licences.  Separate charges for possessing the illegal cannabis are pending by the Winnipeg Police Service.

Manitoba stood to lose more than $8,600 in tax revenue if the contraband products had been sold.  For a first-time offence, individuals face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment.  If convicted, they are subject to a triple tax penalty.  Due to a previous conviction under the aforementioned acts, one of the individuals may face a quadruple tax penalty of $33,949.

The province urges anyone who has information on contraband tobacco to contact their local police department, call the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137, email smuggling_manitoba@rcmp-grc.gc.ca or call Manitoba Crime Stoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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