Contraband Cigarettes, Khat Seized

By 11 Division,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 11:19 a.m. November 22, 2016

Officers seized 78,000 cigarettes and 572 pounds of khat from a Junction convenience store recently.

Boxes and bags of cigarettes on a desk
Contraband cigarettes seized from a convenience store
  • Boxes and bags of cigarettes on a desk
  • Bags on the ground and boxes of cigarettes on a desk

11 Division plainclothes seized the contraband from a store, near Keele St. and Dundas St. W., on November 8, after looking into street-level disorder issues in the area.

“While the origin of this seizure has yet to be identified, contraband cigarettes typically come from organized crime elements that have access to cross-border territories,” Detective Constable Abdullah Karimzada said. “Cigarettes are purchased at lower taxation rates in the United States and then smuggled across the border where they are sold at a lower rate.”

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security found that there are 175 organized crime groups distributing contraband tobacco in Canada. The groups are often found to be involved in other criminal enterprises such as drug and weapon trafficking.

The khat, an illegal, amphetamine-like stimulant, was allegedly brought into Canada from New York state.

Detective Sergeant Craig Drennan said the Division has conducted hundreds of investigations, executed dozens of search warrants, assisted numerous victims of crime and shut down supply lines to contraband goods over the past two years.

“This decreases the profitability of organized crime, keeps communities safer and assists in the increased perception of quality of life,” Drennan said. 

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