Cigarette scam costs Sylvan man $185,000

Area resident attempted to sell hundreds of thousands of illegal cigarettes on the black market in Red Deer.

  • Aug. 31, 2010 9:04 p.m.

A Sylvan Lake man has been fined $185,000 for arranging to sell hundreds of thousands of contraband cigarettes on the black market in the Calgary and Red Deer areas.

On June 21, Scott Smith, 47, of Sylvan Lake, pleaded guilty to two charges under the federal Excise Act, specifically to sell, offer or have possession of unstamped tobacco.

Smith received a fine of $150,000 relating to an investigation in the Calgary area and a fine of $35,000 relating to a similar investigation in the Red Deer area.

He was given two years to pay these fines.

RCMP said the charges and fines bring to a close two investigations which began in December, 2008. The probes identified Smith as having arranged to have contraband cigarettes shipped to himself in order to sell these on the illicit market in the Red Deer area.

Police said a shipment of 657,800 contraband cigarettes were discovered in Calgary and another shipment of 150,000 cigarettes was discovered in the Red Deer area.

RCMP said these cigarettes, which had been seized, were destroyed under the direction of the Calgary-based RCMP Customs and Excise Section. The cigarettes were destroyed by having them crushed and buried at a landfill site.

In addition to these guilty pleas, Smith previously had pleaded guilty in March, 2010 to similar charges in Ontario where he had been apprehended transporting 3,400 cartons of cigarettes destined for Alberta.

He received four months in jail in addition to time served. During this seizure his truck and trailer were seized and ordered forfeited to the Crown.