(Cornwall, ON) On September 11th, 2018, members of the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF), along with its marine members complemented by two Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) members, were conducting anti-smuggling operations along the St. Lawrence River. The marine team observed a suspicious vessel approaching the dock of an east end Cornwall waterfront motel. As they were advancing toward the vessel to conduct a vessel stop, the operator attempted to flee from police, but was intercepted without incident. The investigation resulted in three individuals being arrested by police. The boat operator, Matthew Jacobs (aged 29) of Cornwall, Ontario was charged with flight from police and a number of offences under the Small Vessel regulations. James Johnson (aged 28) of Snye, Quebec was arrested for being in possession of controlled substances under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and for being in possession of a prohibited device (brass knuckles). Johnson was also wanted by AMPS. The third occupant, a 29-year-old female from Chateauguay, New York was held in custody for further investigation under the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) by our Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) partners. Jacobs and Johnson were released to attend court at the Cornwall Provincial Courthouse in Cornwall, Ontario on October 23rd. The female was removed from Canada to the US the following day when it was determined she was inadmissible to Canada.
On Saturday, September 15th, 2018, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SD&G) Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the CRTF following an investigation of a single motor vehicle collision which had occurred on Highway 138 near St. Andrews. The OPP advised that the vehicle involved in the accident was loaded with unstamped tobacco. An investigation revealed that the pickup truck which was loaded with fifty-four (54) bags of unstamped tobacco was located on scene. The OPP Police Dog Services was able to track a 52-year-old male suspect to a nearby residence. The male was processed by the CRTF and has been released unconditionally while the investigation continues.
As a result of this investigation a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup, and a total 724.42kg of unstamped tobacco was seized.
On September 17th, 2018, the CRTF was called to Cornwall’s Port of Entry (POE). CBSA border services officers had arrested Justin Delormier (aged 30) of Cornwall, Ontario for being in possession of unstamped tobacco. As members continued their investigation, they transported Delormier to the RCMP Detachment. As a result of this investigation 10,163 cigars of various flavors along with 69.4kgs of unstamped tobacco was seized. Delormier was released from custody on a promise to appear with his first appearance slated for November 6th, 2018 at the Cornwall Provincial Courthouse.
On September 25th, 2018, CRTF members were conducting anti-smuggling operations along the St. Lawrence River near the Quebec border, when investigators observed a person, on shore, unloading bags from a vessel. As police moved in to investigate, a 29-year-old male from Valleyfield, Quebec was arrested for being in possession of 48 garbage bags filled with unstamped tobacco weighing 706.7kg. The male was released from police custody by way of his own recognizance to appear in Valleyfield Provincial Court on January 11th, 2019.
On September 27th, 2018, based on contraband related intelligence received by CBSA, a search warrant was executed at a Cornwall residence by CRTF members. During the search police located 760 unstamped cigars of various flavors. The resident, Christopher Cloutier (aged 35), was not present during the search, but turned himself in to police the following day. Cloutier was released from custody on a promise to appear in Cornwall Provincial Courthouse on November 20th, 2018.
The individuals noted above, who have been charged under the provisions of the Excise Act, 2001, also face charges under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act for possession of unmarked cigarettes.
The CRTF is a joint forces partnership that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Canada Border Services Agency, and the Ontario Ministry of Finance. CRTF would like to extend our thanks to the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service for their ongoing assistance.