RCMP puzzled by Maritime tobacco trends

The RCMP have noticed a new trend in how contraband cigarettes reach the Maritimes provinces. According to an internal document, they have detected an increase in the number of traffickers purchasing their cigarettes in Listuguj, a Míkmaq community in Quebec.

Maritime brokers of untaxed tobacco products had previously acquired the bulk of their product in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, and the Mounties are trying to determine why this switch has taken place.

The new trend is confusing because the cost of cigarettes is typically higher in Listuguj, due the fact that they are not manufactured there. Instead they are resold after being acquired from manufactures or distributors in Kahnawake and Akwesasne.

“It is possible that traffickers are enticed by the reduced risk of travelling shorter distances and purchasing from a location with less law enforcement focus on contraband tobacco,” read an RCMP report obtained through an Access to Information Request.

Kahnawake, is located just south of Montreal, and is a more than six-hour drive further away from the Maritimes than Listuguj, which is situated just across the river from Campbellton, New Brunswick.

It is not clear from the report how the RCMP came to the conclusion that more tobacco was purchased in Listuguj.

The RCMP seized 10,400 bags of 200 cigarettes in the Maritime Provinces between January and October 2014, which is 12.6 percent of all cigarettes seized in Canada in that time. Over half that number came from a single incident in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia on March 3rd, 2014.

According to news reports, the RCMP seized 3,890 contraband cigarettes last month in Pictou, Nova Scotia, after pulling over a truck bearing Ontario license plates for speeding.

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