British Columbia’s convenience store owners are raising the alarm about the fact that criminals are using the province’s roadways to transport illegal tobacco and likely other illicit goods at an alarming rate throughout the Okanagan region.
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP recently released details about a traffic stop that led to police seizing nearly 1.5 million contraband cigarettes in Vernon on Jan. 8.
While B.C. convenience store owners are grateful that police are continuing to investigate this serious incident, store owners are calling on the province’s Minister of Public Safety to step up and take the lead in making British Columbia safer for everyone.
The Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities (RA4SC) is calling on Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to publicly acknowledge this is a serious issue that is top of mind for the B.C. government and urgently establish a Contraband Tobacco Prevention Task Force.
“We believe a Contraband Prevention Task Force is the first step in addressing the buying and selling of illicit tobacco in our province and finding a way together to implement stronger enforcement and penalties for those that break the law,” said the alliance in a news release
The Okanagan has been named a hot spot for the buying and selling of contraband tobacco and the alliance says contraband tobacco invites criminal activity into the province and fosters a breeding ground for other dangerous activity such as the trafficking of drugs, humans, and weapons.
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