DDO man charged with tobacco smuggling

By Robert Frank

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers began investigating suspicious courier packages three years ago that turned out to contain more than 828 kg of chewing tobacco.

On Nov. 28, the agency’s Criminal Investigation Division charged Dollard des Ormeaux resident Lukman Patel and three other men with smuggling, among the 186 violations of the Criminal Code, the Customs Act and the Excise Act that they have been accused of committing. The others were Arvindan Rasanathan and Yunus Patel of Montreal and Imran Intwala of Scarborough, Ontario.

The four are slated to appear before Quebec Court at Montreal’s Palais de justice, Feb. 5, 2013.

The shipments involved “different means and different points of entry,” CBSA spokesman Dominique McNeely told The Suburban in an interview.

“The investigation started in 2009,” he said, “and the search warrants were executed Nov. 30, 2011.”

“To lay 186 charges takes a while and requires a lengthy investigation,” McNeely added.

“It’s contraband tobacco, so we’re not talking about illegal drugs.”

From Jan. 1-Nov. 27, 2012, CBSA made 2,091 seizures with an estimated value of $4.4 million,” McNeely continued. “Most of these seizures are of small amounts from individuals, but a smaller number involve more significant, commercial amounts [of tobacco].” 

“People need to be aware that if they purchase contraband tobacco, they are funding criminal activity,” Benoît Chiquette, the head of CBSA’s Quebec region, said in a statement.

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