More than 201,000 illegal cigarettes seized

The Fredericton Police Force, in partnership with the Department of Justice and Public Safety seized more than 201,000 illegal cigarettes during a routine road check on Highway 2 in Fredericton.

The illegal cigarettes were seized on Thursday, August 25, 2016, as a result of a vehicle stop during the checkpoint, and a subsequent search warrant. The provincial tax value of the seized cigarettes is estimated at approximately $45,000.

A 36-year old Robert Joseph Laurent Samson, male from of Gatineau, Québec, faces criminal charges of possession of tobacco for the purpose of sale, as well as possession of unmarked tobacco and possession of more than 1,000 cigarettes or 1,000 grams of tobacco without a vendors license. The latter two fall under the Tobacco Tax Act. Mr. Samson has also be charged of driving while disqualified, and breaching an Ontario probation order.

Staff Sergeant Paul Battiste, of the Fredericton Police Neighbourhood Action Team was on the scene. "This is just another great example of law enforcement officials working together against illegal activities in our province," he said. "These partnerships are invaluable and I look forward to working together again in the future."

The contraband tobacco market is estimated to represent a revenue loss to the province of $13 million annually.

Revenues from the sale of illegal tobacco are often funnelled into organized crime. Manufacturers of illegal tobacco products are not subject to standards or inspections.

Anyone with information on the sale and distribution of illegal tobacco is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).