The province’s finance department, which has been battling tobacco smugglers, issued a press release this morning saying that two men it has targeted are paying a heavy price for possession of contraband cigarettes.
On June 21, the two men received fines and tax penalties totaling $1.75 million after being convicted of possession of non-Manitoba-marked cigarettes. One of the men also received jail time.
Rene Bigras of St. Constant, Que., was arrested in May 2009 and charged with possession of 1.75 million unmarked cigarettes. He was arrested once again in March 2010 for possession of 600,000 unmarked cigarettes. He received the bulk of the fines.
Carl Richard Fontaine of Sagkeeng First Nation was arrested in October 2008. He had been in possession of 200,000 unmarked cigarettes. Fontaine was handed a six-month jail sentence and assessed a tax penalty of $105,000.