Police seize 870,000 illegal cigarettes from Dartmouth storage units
Published Wednesday, June 1, 2016 3:25PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 1, 2016 8:54PM ADT
Hundreds of thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized after police raided three rental storage units in Dartmouth on Tuesday.
Police seized four vehicles, 870,000 contraband cigarettes and an undetermined amount of cash from the storage units at Apple Self Storage on Tacoma Drive and at another storage unit on Windmill Road.
The cigarettes have a street value of about $152,000.
The raids were the result of a seven-month investigation by Service Nova Scotia, Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP.
Service Nova Scotia says it's not unusual for the department to lead an investigation like this.
"All the provinces and all the jurisdictions have invested interest in tobacco smuggling,” said Bernie Meagher, director of audit and enforcement for Service Nova Scotia. “All the provinces and the federal government have tobacco taxes on tobacco products, so all of us are very interested in investigating those types of illegal operations."
Three Halifax-area men and an Ontario man were arrested in connection with the seizures.
They are due in court on Aug. 24 to face charges under the Revenue Act, Excise Act and the new provision of the Criminal Code for contraband tobacco smuggling.
Two of the Halifax-area men and the Ontario man have been released. The third Halifax-area man is due to appear in court on Wednesday on an unrelated matter.
Meagher is calling it one of the largest tobacco seizures in the past three to four years. He believes five to 10 per cent of tobacco in the province is smuggled, which is significantly lower than 10 years ago.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Amanda Debison.