Traffic stop leads Vernon RCMP to 1.5 million contraband cigarettes – Vernon News

1.5m contraband cigarettes

Plans to transport nearly 1.5 million contraband cigarettes went up in smoke for a Lumby man earlier this month.

Vernon RCMP seized the illegal cigs following a traffic stop in Vernon on Jan. 8.

About 10 p.m. that night, police stopped a vehicle towing a trailer on the 4800 block of 27th Street in Vernon, says North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski.

“The man operating the vehicle was found to be prohibited from driving and was arrested by the officer,” Terleski said in a press release.

“Following the man’s arrest, and upon further investigation, police discovered evidence that led to the seizure of nearly 1.5 million cigarettes – all believed to be contraband.”

The 45-year-old Lumby man was released from custody pending a court appearance.

Police continue to investigate the incident.

Contraband cigarettes have become a multimillion-dollar business in Canada as taxes on legal smokes increase.

The BC government estimated in October that tax losses last year would total $275 million.

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