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Classified in: Health, Business
Subjects: PDT, JVN, AVO

Anti-Contraband Enforcement Unit Important Step in Fighting Organized Crime

OTTAWA, Feb. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) welcomed the confirmation of the setup of New Brunswick's new Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Unit. It was confirmed this week that the new, 9-member team will be in place by the spring and have the same authority as police.

"Experience in Quebec has shown that dedicated enforcement is an effective tool to reducing contraband. In that province, tough anti-contraband measures introduced in 2009 have led to a 50% decrease in contraband," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and spokesperson for NCACT. "New Brunswick still has much work to do, and recent tax increases introduced in the last budget will only make this challenge more difficult," continued Grant. "Anti-contraband measures really must be given a chance to work before changes to the legal market should be considered."

Contraband tobacco is a growing problem in New Brunswick. The RCMP has indicated that smugglers have shifted to smaller shipments to avoid large busts, like that in late November where more than 1.5 million cigarettes were seized near Val-Doucet, along with guns and illicit alcohol. This makes it harder for law enforcement to keep up.

"Contraband tobacco is big business for organized crime. The RCMP have identified 175 criminal gangs are involved in the illegal cigarette trade. They use contraband tobacco as a cash cow to finance their other illegal activities, including guns drugs and human smuggling," said Grant.

Contraband tobacco smuggled into New Brunswick is largely produced at one of the 50 illegal factories that operate in Canada, each of which is able to produce as many as 10,000 cigarettes a minute. In Ontario and Quebec, an absence of early action against contraband tobacco allowed the problem to get out of hand. In Ontario, contraband cigarettes represent 1 in 3 of all cigarettes purchased.

"Contraband tobacco is not going to solve itself, and it is good that New Brunswick is moving forward with meaningful action on this problem," concluded Grant. "Illegal cigarettes undermine government tobacco control efforts. It's important that we give these new tools the time they need to have an effect and begin to control this problem."

The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and individuals concerned about the growing danger of contraband cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals of working together to educate people and urge government to take quick action to stop this growing threat.

The members of the NCACT are: Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec (ADA), Association des marchands dépanneurs et épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), Customs and Immigration Union, Échec au crime Québec, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA), National Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada, Toronto Crime Stoppers, United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA), and National Capital Area Crime Stoppers.

SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)

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