THE former owner of a popular Charleswood-area restaurant pleaded guilty Thursday to possessing several thousand contraband cigarettes and was fined a tax penalty of $5,850 and $1,910 in court surcharges.
Mauro Cutrone, 66, was originally charged in November with possessing and selling unmarked tobacco products following an investigation by the Manitoba Finance special investigations unit.
Court was told that acting on a tip, investigators followed Cutrone and observed him selling three plastic bags containing a total of 600 cigarettes to another man for $96.
Cutrone was stopped and a search of his vehicle found $1,320 in cash, 34 plastic bags, each containing 200 cigarettes, and five cartons of cigarettes. The cigarettes were contraband and lacked a government seal.
Court was told that Cutrone used to own a popular restaurant -- Bella Roma on Roblin Boulevard -- but had since retired and has no criminal record.