MONCTON (GNB) –  An 81-year-old Moncton man has been sentenced to fines of $176,046 and 24 months probation for transporting unstamped tobacco products and for unlawfully distributing an unstamped tobacco product. Edward Williams was sentenced on Feb. 25 after pleading guilty in Moncton provincial court in January. He was charged under the Tobacco Tax Act and the Criminal Code.

On Jan. 16, Department of Public Safety enforcement officers arrested Williams after a search warrant executed at a Lakeville property and a search of Williams’ vehicle uncovered more than 136,400 unstamped cigarettes.

The provincial tax value of the seized tobacco is estimated at $44,969 and the estimated federal tobacco excise tax value is $36,969.

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).