MONTREAL, Que. -- Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has seized nearly 48,000 kgs of tobacco from three Canadian truck drivers who attempted to smuggle the contraband into Canada via semi-trailer.
The busts have come over the past three weeks at Monteregie. CBSA says the market value of the tobacco is more than $5 million.
The first of three seizures took place March 6 at the Herdman border crossing. The trucker reported he was returning empty after a delivery in New Jersey. However, an inspection revealed 16,550 kgs of loose tobacco. On March 11, at Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, another Canadian trucker told officers he was pulling an empty trailer after a delivery in Champlain, N.Y. Officers found 132 cardboard boxes containing 16,800 kgs of loose tobacco in the trailer, a well as more than $11,000 in cash.
On March 12, yet another Canadian trucker was busted, after telling CBSA officers he was transporting ink. Officers examined the trailer and found 132 boxes containing 14,480 kgs of loose tobacco. The truck drivers could face smuggling charges.
The CBSA points out these are serious charges. On Feb. 14, a truck driver was sentenced to 14 months in prison after being caught smuggling contraband tobacco into Canada.
“Truck drivers who transport commercial goods across the border are in key positions that are essential to Canada’s economic prosperity. The Canada Border Services Agency considers truck drivers who take advantage of their strategic position to smuggle goods to be breaking our relationship of trust and demonstrating a high level of responsibility for these acts,” said Benoit Chiquette, CBSA regional director general, Quebec Region.