EDMUNDSTON (GNB) – A 52-year-old man from Princedale, N.S., pleaded guilty in Edmundston provincial court to transportation of unstamped tobacco products. John David Dukeshire was charged under two sections of the Tobacco Tax Act. He was sentenced to fines of $292,862.

The guilty plea on Jan. 22 followed enforcement activities that took place on June 6, 2018, in Edmundston. Department of Public Safety enforcement officers arrested Dukeshire when the search of a pickup truck revealed 226,381 unstamped cigarettes.

The provincial tax value of the seized tobacco is estimated at $57,772.

Under Section 2.2(1) of the act, it is an offence to possess tobacco where taxes have not been paid. The minimum fine is $2,000 plus an additional five times the value of the tax payable. Under Section 2.2(1.6), it is an offence to possess more than five cartons or 1,000 cigarettes. The minimum fine is $2,000.

Revenue from the sale of illegal tobacco is often funnelled into organized crime and supports the underground economy in New Brunswick. Illegal tobacco works against government cessation programs and poses a greater risk to increased smoking rates for youth. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death in Canada. Each day, 100 Canadians die of a smoking-related illness.

Anyone with information on the sale and distribution of illegal tobacco is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).