Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

Brandon Sun - ONLINE EDITION

Nearly 1M illegal cigarettes were seized in police raid

Blacksmith, others charged after RCMP/DOPS bust

Police released this photo of the nearly one million cigarettes that were seized on Jan. 22 in a smoke-shop raid at Dakota Plains First Nation.

RCMP HANDOUT Enlarge Image

Police released this photo of the nearly one million cigarettes that were seized on Jan. 22 in a smoke-shop raid at Dakota Plains First Nation.

The main proponent of provactive smoke shops selling untaxed tobacco faces a laundry list of charges, police said today, about a week after their latest raid.

Police released this photo of six firearms seized after a smoke-shop raid on Jan. 22 at Dakota Plains First Nation.

Enlarge Image

Police released this photo of six firearms seized after a smoke-shop raid on Jan. 22 at Dakota Plains First Nation. (RCMP HANDOUT)

Craig Blacksmith

Enlarge Image

Craig Blacksmith

The Brandon Sun has previously reported that Craig Blacksmith's shop was raided, but details of the bust were made public in a release by police Thursday around noon.

They say two Quebec men will face charges after making a delivery to a smoke shop on the Dakota Plains First Nation, southwest of Portage la Prairie. An employee of the shop was also arrested and charged, as was Blacksmith, the shop's owner.

From the shop, police seized 4,800 cartons of cigarettes, three firearms and a vehicle.

They also raided a storage locker rented by Blacksmith, where they seized two more cases of tobacco and three more guns.

In total, police say they seized 951,225 cigarettes, 1,845 tins of chewing tobacco, six guns, cash and the vehicle.

The tobacco hadn't been taxed by Manitoba authorities, and there was a total owing of $292,572.68. Police say that if convicted of the provincial charges, each of the accused could face a tax penalty of triple the amount avoided — which would be $877,718.04.

The raid saw Portage la Prairie RCMP join forces with the Daokta Ojibway Police Service, Manitoba Finance and the RCMP Serious and Organized Crime unit.

Blacksmith, 51, faces nearly two dozen charges related to tax-avoidance on tobacco and firearm possession and storage. He's been released on a promise to appear in Winnipeg court on May 12.

Last week, Blacksmith seemed confident in an interview with the Sun.

"It’s going to come down to jurisdiction,"he said. "This is a completely different set of circumstances. The previous arrests were all off the reserve and this one was on the reserve, so now apparently they think they have jurisdiction on the reserves."

The two alleged cigarette deliverymen, Matthew Audi, 26, and Christopher Wilkins, 30, face charges related to untaxed tobacco as well as possession of property obtained by crime. They, too, have been released but are to appear in court on May 12.

The employee of the shop, 42-year-old Tammy Walters, faces about half a dozen tobacco-related charges. She, too, will appear in court on May 12.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media