CAMPBELLTON (GNB) – Enforcement officers from the Department of Justice and Public Safety, in partnership with the Sûreté du Quebec, seized 126,042 illegal cigarettes, 1,980 bottles (165 cases) of beer and one vehicle on May 30 and 31 in the Chaleur region.

The seizures were the result of traffic check stops during a joint enforcement operation focussed on the distribution of illegal tobacco products. The beer seized had not been purchased in New Brunswick and the vehicle had been used in the conveyance of illegal tobacco products.

Tickets under the Tobacco Tax Act and the Liquor Control Act were issued. Two individuals were arrested for transporting unstamped cigarettes contrary to Section 121.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada and subsequently released on a promise to appear in court at a later date.

The tobacco seizure represents a provincial tax value of about $32,140 and an additional federal tobacco excise tax value of $26,468. The contraband tobacco market is estimated to represent a revenue loss to the province of $13 million annually.

Revenue from the sale of illegal tobacco is often funneled 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 most important 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).