70 KM police chase ends in Kahnawake
Published Tuesday, March 24, 2009 11:07AM EDT
Two suspected cigarette smugglers were arrested and face charges after a 70-kilometre police chase from the Ontario border all the way to the south shore on Tuesday morning. It was one of two morning busts in separate regions of Quebec related to cigarette smuggling.
Around 1:30 a.m., the Surete du Quebec tried to pull over a pickup truck on Highway 20 at Coteau-du-lac west of Vaudreuil.
The truck had Ontario licence plates that the SQ says were false.
The driver refused to stop and led police on a 40-minute, 70-kilometre chase back along the 20 towards Montreal.
Dodged nail carpets
The SQ asked Montreal police and Kahnawake peacekeepers to help, and nail carpets were laid out.
They didn't work and the truck continued over the Mercier bridge onto Mohawk territory where the peacekeepers stopped them.
The SQ says the truck was transporting cases of contraband cigarettes. A 22-year-old man and a teenage boy were taken into custody.
Another contraband bust
Later on Tuesday morning, multiple police forces banded together to arrest three people from a Huron reserve near Quebec City.
The SQ says a business was selling bogus smokes on Main Street in Wendake.
Fifteen police offers swooped down on the reserve following an investigation that lasted several months. The suspects are two men aged 37 and 40 as well as a 43-year-old woman.
The Projet Fautif raids included the SQ, Wendake police and officers from Quebec City and Levis.
Canadian police forces have teamed up in recent years to intensify anti-smuggling efforts in the face of well-organized contraband manufacturing and smuggling operations.
In January the anti-smoking group Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada released data that indicated Quebec and Ontario are home base for most of Canada's contraband cigarette trade.
The group said the two provinces account for 93 per cent of illegal cigarette activity.
The study also said more than 10 billion cheap, contraband cigarettes were sold in Quebec and Ontario in 2007, and that most of the contraband factories are based in the United States.