|Contraband tobacco is thought to incur global annual tax losses in the order of $40 billion-$50 billion. Estimates range from 10.7 to 11.6 per cent of cigarettes consumed worldwide. Canada’s contraband cigarette problem is outsized and disproportionate by comparison: our illicit tobacco market is estimated at 15 to 33 per cent of all cigarettes consumed.|
At $88.64 a legal carton, Ontario is the most lightly taxed province after Quebec. By contrast, untaxed contraband cigarettes sell for as little as $8 to $10 for a bag of 200.
|Project Chateau in March 2009 resulted in the arrest of 22 people and the seizure of 298 cases of contraband tobacco, 20,000 methamphetamine pills, cocaine, marijuana, nine guns and about $75,000 in cash. Police suspect that the Hells Angels were involved.|
•The RCMP busted a large cigarette-smuggling ring that included the notorious Hells Angels member Salvatore Cazzetta in June 2009 as part of Project Machine. Hells Angels members established contacts on Kahnawake territory, renting out a warehouse on the reserve to store contraband and money. Forty-six people in total were arrested and one kilogram of cocaine, 4,000 methamphetamine tablets, 80 ecstasy tablets, 139 boxes of tobacco, 15,800 kilograms of tobacco, more than $161,500 and 12 weapons were seized.
|The Warrior Society denies that smuggling untaxed cigarettes into Canada is smuggling, because such actions are "legal" within the Mohawk Nation. They claim that they are not criminals because Canadian and American law does not apply to them. |
The leading warriors have created an underground business in smuggling for the sole purpose of evading taxes. This business fuels their political agenda.
"Cigarettes is a vehicle for future, other economic development," said Paul Delaronde.