Members of the P.E.I. RCMP Serious and Organized Crime Unit have arrested a Charlottetown man and seized more than 100,000 illegal cigarettes after a three-month investigation.
The man was arrested Jan. 3, and two Charlottetown residences were searched as a result of Operation Lava, which focused on the importation and sale of illicit cigarettes in the Charlottetown area.
Police seized over 10 cases of contraband, totaling 101, 280 cigarettes with an estimated value of over $34,000 in taxes lost to Islanders. Also seized as a result were two motor vehicles.
"Islanders who buy or sell contraband cigarettes should be aware that both activities are illegal and the safety of our communities can be at risk from these sales," stated an RCMP news release. "Contraband tobacco is often the initial foothold of larger criminals which leads to more serious illegal activities in our communities."
The investigation continues and charges under the Excise Act, P.E.I. Tobacco Tax Act, Highway Traffic Act and the Criminal Code are expected.
Anyone with any information on the sale illegal cigarettes or suspicious activity is asked to contact the Prince Edward Island RCMP customs and excise unit at 566-7112 or P.E.I. Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).