The province is making history by joining forces with Ontario, completing the largest-ever seizure of contraband cigarettes in Manitoba.
Manitoba's Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit joined forces with the Brandon Police Major Crimes Section and the Ontario Ministry of Finance Investigations to make what they are calling the largest seizure of illegal cigarettes ever in Manitoba.
In Brandon on September 9, four men, aged 45 to 60, were arrested for being in possession of illegal cigarettes.
The province says it seized 360 cases, the equivalent to 3,570,400 contraband cigarettes.
"Had these cigarettes been sold, the Manitoba government stood to lose $1,071,120 in tax revenue," the province says in a statement.
Authorities say the contraband came from an Ontario First Nation community.
All four suspects are facing charges under The Tobacco Tax Act and The Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act.
A first-time offender could be fined between $1,000 and $10,000 and spend up to six months in prison. Suspects may also face a triple tax penalty of $3,213,360 and a loss of assets to the Criminal Forfeiture Unit.
Authorities say the suspects could also face charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.
The new record beats the previously-broken record by more than a million cigarettes. In February, the Finance Taxation Special Investigations Unit seized 2,050,300.