More than 2 million illegal cigarettes seized in Winnipeg raids

Three people are facing charges after police in Winnipeg made a record-setting seizure of contraband cigarettes earlier this month.

In all, investigators seized 2,050,300 cigarettes Feb. 13 — the largest single seizure in the history of Manitoba Finance’s Special Investigations Unit.

The seizure followed a joint investigation between the unit and Winnipeg police into the sale of contraband cigarettes at multiple retail stores in Winnipeg.

The province says it stood to lose $615,090 in taxes through the sale of the illicit cigarettes.

Police seized just over $93,000 in cash and two vehicles.

Two men and a woman, all from Winnipeg, are facing a number of charges under Manitoba’s Tax Act and Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act, as well as criminal charges.

First-time offenders face fines between $1,000 and $10,000 and/or up to six months behind bars, as well as a potential triple tax penalty.

The province says two of the accused have prior convictions, meaning they face fines between $10,000 and $50,000 and/or up to one-year in jail as well as a potential quadruple tax penalty.

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