Date: Friday, March 8, 2024 

File: 24-6289 

VicPD Seizes Over $130,000 In Cash And Half A Million Dollars In Contraband Cigarettes 

Victoria, B.C. – Last month, officers with the General Investigation Services (GIS) section began an investigation into the sale of contraband tobacco. Officers executed a search warrant at a residence in Esquimalt, resulting in the seizure of large quantities of contraband cigarettes and cash. 

On February 22, GIS officers conducting covert surveillance observed the suspect selling cartons and packs of cigarettes in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue. Surveillance continued and the suspect was arrested in the same area on February 24, without incident. 

After the arrest, investigators executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in Esquimalt and seized over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes and $130,000 in Canadian currency. The commercial value of the seized cigarettes is estimated to be above $500,000.  

Boxes Containing Approximately 3,400 Cartons of Seized Contraband Cigarettes

For tobacco products to be sold legally in B.C., they must have provincial stamps displayed on the packaging that indicates the payment of both provincial and federal taxes. Contraband tobacco is identified by having no provincial stamps displayed on the packaging. 

This investigation is ongoing and further details are not available at this time. 

Why Focus On Contraband Tobacco? 

Investigators believe contraband tobacco is being sold in Greater Victoria at a fraction of its retail price, which has a negative impact on local retail outlets and small businesses. According to the B.C Provincial Government, participating in activities associated with illegal or contraband tobacco: 

  • Compromises public safety by providing funds used to finance organized crime and other criminal activities such as drug and gun trafficking. 
  • Threatens tax revenue, reducing support for important government programs such as healthcare, infrastructure and education.

If you have information about the sale of contraband tobacco, please call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1. To report what you know anonymously, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers. 


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