Two Cape Breton men were arrested Wednesday night following a seizure of more than 610,000 contraband cigarettes from a motor home in the Birch Grove area.
Peter McIsaac, deputy police chief of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, said officers seized the motor home and found 61 boxes of tobacco with an estimated street value of $77,000 dollars.
He said the arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation into the organized distribution of contraband cigarettes that included local police and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations officials. One man was arrested at the scene and the second in the general area.
The men, in their 30s and 40s, were released from custody Wednesday night. Charges are pending.
Staff Sgt. Ron Donovan said the men were known to police, adding more arrests are possible.
“I think this is part of another organization which is bringing illegal cigarettes into the local area,” he said.
He said Nova Scotia taxpayers end up losing when it comes to contraband cigarettes.
“The revenue lost to the province is a little over $100,000,” said Donovan, adding the fine is set at three times the amount of the tax lost. There are more penalties on top of that through the Criminal Code of Canada, he said.