Canada, U.S. to crack down on tobacco smugglers

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POSTED AT 11:29 PM EDT    Wednesday, September 25


Canadian Press

Toronto — Police on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border have joined forces to put an end to smuggling cut-rate cigarettes from eastern Ontario's Akwesasne reserve, CBC-TV's The National reported Wednesday.

American and Canadian police have worked together for years but after last September, their partnership became official.

The Integrated Border Enforcement Team brings together customs and immigration officers, as well as provincial and state police and the RCMP. They're all working together to try to stop the smuggling of people, drugs and cigarettes, the CBC reported from outside Akwesasne.

"We're patrolling with the other agencies side by side," said RCMP Sgt. Gilles Tougas.

"So this obviously enhances our patrols."

In the 1990s the problem was Canadian cigarettes shipped to the U.S., smuggled back into Canada and sold at a discount.

Now it's aboriginal cigarettes made on the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve, which sits between Ontario, Quebec and New York state.

"In boats, in cars, in trucks, they've done it all," said New York police Capt. Dave Chauvin.

"Any way they can get (cigarettes) through."

Bound for Montreal and Ontario, the cigarettes bear names such as Seneca and Putters Light. Some come with the motto "From the Original Tobacco Traders" and cost half as much as legally purchased cigarettes.

"We're going to continue our efforts and they're going to have a lot more difficulty than they've ever had," said Micheal Aho, with the Ontario provincial police.

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