Friday, January 07, 2011
On January 3, 2011 members of Hobbema RCMP Detachment were called to investigate a break and enter to a Quonset located on the Montana First Nation. In the course of this investigation they discovered a quantity of cigarettes had been stolen from the unoccupied building. Still inside the building were numerous cases of cigarettes.
Hobbema Detachment members contacted RCMP Customs and Excise Section for assistance due to the large quantity of tobacco involved. Customs and Excise, working in partnership with investigators from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission attended the Hobbema Detachment area to assist with the investigation.
A search warrant was executed. During this search over 75,000 cartons of cigarettes were located and seized, representing a possible street value well in excess of 6 million dollars.
At this point, both the RCMP and A.G.L.C. are investigating. A.G.L.C investigators will determine whether or not there have been provincial tax violations. The RCMP Customs and Excise will continue their investigation from the perspective of the Excise Act as well as the original break & enter offense. The RCMP will also examine possible connections to organized crime.
At this point no charges have been laid. The Montana First Nation had no financial interest or investment into the contraband tobacco. They have been fully cooperative throughout this investigation.
It is believed that this is the largest tobacco seizure in the history of the province of Alberta.