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$38,000 in fines for their cigarettes purchased in Kahnawake

A couple from Blainville were taken aback last week when they received a hefty fine of approximately $38,000 after being tailed by police for buying cigarettes in Kahnawake, on the South Shore of Montreal.

“I felt that we were followed after the purchase. We stopped for pizza and we got mugged with our cigarettes by four ghost police tanks like we were criminals. It’s exaggerated”, tells the Log Daniel Crasoski.

He and his spouse Carole Beaudoin drove to the Mohawk community on June 29. They took the opportunity to buy a box containing about 10,000 cigarettes in one of the many kiosks on the side of the road.

“Gas is made expensive. We bought a large quantity to stock up and to limit our trips. Me and my wife, we both smoke a lot. A fund lasts us about six months,” explains Mr. Crasoski.

Well and truly illegal

The Blainvillois, a trucker for more than 40 years, also claims to have never intended to resell cigarettes to make a profit.

“I was very honest with the police when they arrested me. I said it was for personal consumption with my wife. I have no business selling that. I make enough money, insists Daniel Crassoski.

The problem, according to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), is that it is still illegal to buy cigarettes without a federal excise stamp like those sold in Kahnawake. These stamps confirm that the tobacco products were legally manufactured in Canada.

Photo Axel Marchand-Lamothe

“When we intercept someone who buys it, we submit a report that we submit to the Quebec Revenue Agency (CRA). They are then the ones who are responsible for assessing and depositing the fines, which are a minimum amount of $6,550 for this offence,” confirms Lieutenant Benoit Richard, spokesperson for the SQ.

Mr. Richard points out that even buying a single pack of cigarettes without a stamp in the Mohawk community is illegal. “No one is supposed to ignore the law,” he recalls.

Photo Axel Marchand-Lamothe

“Completely ridiculous”

After being followed by SQ police officers last June, the couple from Blainville finally received their hefty fines through a bailiff on September 12.

Daniel Crassoski and Carole Beaudoin “fell out of their chair” when they saw that the total amount of their tickets amounted to $37,668. Note that their case of cigarettes cost only $700 at the Kahnawake kiosk.

“I wouldn’t mind paying an amount for my punishment, but not $37,000. It’s completely ridiculous. There are those who defrauded the government out of millions of dollars with brown envelopes and never got tickets. There needs to be a happy medium,” denounces Mr. Crassoski.

The couple received two $9,834 tickets for possessing unstamped cigarettes and two $9,000 fines for having a crate full of tobacco that was unidentified.

Disputed fines

The lovers, however, have not said their last word in this matter. They have already contacted lawyers to challenge the tickets in court.

“The first thing I said to myself when they approached me was: well let’s see! I have never seen that in 25 years of profession as a lawyer”, expresses Me Sophie Mongeon.

It was she who revealed the story of these two Blainville residents on her TikTok page in a video that went viral with more than 140,000 views on Monday.

“I especially wanted to warn people on social networks to think about it before buying these cigarettes. I have delegated the file to other colleagues who will take care of this case now, ”concludes the lawyer.

  • Compulsory excise stamp for all tobacco products sold
  • Prohibited from selling or possessing tobacco products unless they are identified in accordance
  • Anyone who violates this requirement is liable to a fine or imprisonment.
  • The stamp indicates that the federal excise duty was paid and the product was legally manufactured
  • The stamp used in Quebec is blue and bears the mention “QC”
  • Minimum penalty for having a package that is not properly identified: $6556

Sources: Canada Revenue Agency / Tobacco Tax Act

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The article is in French

Tags: fines cigarettes purchased Kahnawake

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