Canadian Convenience Stores Association

Canadian Convenience Stores Association

May 01, 2014 07:47 ET

Convenience Stores Applaud Tobacco Trafficking Bust in Montreal, Highlight Concerns Over Illegal Tobacco

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 1, 2014) - The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is applauding law enforcement officials for their leadership in investigating and dismantling a significant contraband tobacco smuggling ring in Montreal. The Association also reiterated concerns over the continued presence of the illegal tobacco trade across Canada.

"We are very pleased with the leadership exercised by law enforcement partners in successfully halting this major influx of illegal tobacco," said Alex Scholten, President of the CCSA. "The locations where these police raids took place continue to be problem areas for the contraband tobacco trade, and we are very encouraged that this criminal activity has been disrupted."

Yesterday's crackdown saw authorities arrest 28 individuals and seize 40,000 kilograms of tobacco, amounting to $30 million dollars. Illegal drugs, weapons and cash were also seized as a part of this bust. The smuggling ring was allegedly controlled both by international mafias and aboriginal organized crime groups.

"The sale of illegal tobacco is a sophisticated industry, and in this case, had heavy ties organized crime," said Scholten. "Seizures like this prove that Canada still has a serious illegal tobacco problem."

While the CCSA acknowledged the success of this seizure, they reminded that the incentive for increased smuggling exists because of heighted taxes on legal tobacco products as well as little deterrence for contraband tobacco offenders.

"As the price of legal tobacco products increases, so too does the incentive to sell these products for a much cheaper price on the black market," said Scholten. "This problem is not limited to central Canada, and while we are hopeful that pending legislation to increase penalties on repeat offenders will be helpful in disrupting the trade, there is more work that can be done."

ABOUT THE CCSA

The Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) is a national not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 23,000 convenience store retailers operating in Canada. Our mission is to foster the success of the convenience store industry in Canada by representing the best interests of our members, and the communities they serve. We accomplish our mission through government relations and advocacy, promoting the professionalization of the industry and creating industry recognition and awareness.

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