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Manitoba seizes nearly 10K contraband cigarettes after inspecting 15 Winnipeg stores

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WINNIPEG -

Manitoba Finance’s special investigations unit (SIU) seized nearly 10,000 contraband cigarettes and 32,000 grams of shisha after conducting compliance inspections at 15 stores across Winnipeg.

Following these inspection, seven establishments and eight people were charged. The SIU seized 9,898 cigarettes and 32,000 grams of shisha, an illegal flavoured water pipe tobacco.

Had these cigarettes been sold, the province could have lost $12,249 in tax revenue.

The province notes that the accused face charges under Manitoba’s Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act. Some of the accused could also face charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

If those accused are convicted for first-time offences under the provincial tax acts, they could be fined between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or face up to six months in prison. These individuals could also face a triple tax penalty of various amounts.

The following locations have been charged; however, none of the charges have been proven in court:

  • Fiori’s at 533 Selkirk Ave.;
  • T&A Convenience Store at 520 Sargent Ave.;
  • Ross Convenience at 4-164 Isabel St.;
  • Cornerstone Food Mart at 74 Isabel St.;
  • Strikers Deli at 832 Burrows Ave.;
  • Ellice Deli at 521 Ellice Ave.; and
  • Save Money Spend Less at 348 Hargrave St.

According to the Manitoba government, the SIU seized several different brands, which are considered illegal anywhere in Canada and are ineligible for a tobacco tax stamp. In Manitoba, possession of unstamped tobacco is illegal.

The province asks anyone with information on contraband tobacco to contact the SIU by calling 204-945-1137 or emailing taxation.siutips@gov.mb.ca. They can also contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or a local police department.

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