Manitoba Finance’s Taxation Special Investigations Unit recently seized 45,117 contraband cigarettes plus 3,600 stolen cigarettes and $10,506 in cash from three Winnipeg retail locations, all owned and operated by the same people.
A total of five individuals were found selling or in possession of illegal tobacco products not marked for Manitoba tax purposes. Cigarettes from a Winnipeg break and enter were also located on the premises and were being offered for sale to the public. These individuals now face charges under The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.
Any tobacco retail operation engaged in illicit sales is subject to a suspension and possible revocation of their tobacco dealer’s licences. These three retail locations have had their licenses suspended. Separate charges for possessing stolen cigarettes are being pursued by the Winnipeg Police Service.
Manitoba stood to lose more than $14,000 in tax revenue if these products had been sold. If convicted, the individuals face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. In addition, if convicted, they are subject to a triple tax penalty exceeding $43,000.