Massive Haul of Beer Seized by OPP after Traffic Stop on Highway 401

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The final count stood at 326 cases of 24 beers each, inclusive of various brands, both in bottles and cans.
The final count stood at 326 cases of 24 beers each, inclusive of various brands, both in bottles and cans.

In an intriguing turn of events on Highway 401, Lennox and Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers made a sizeable discovery of three hundred and twenty-six cases of beer. It all stems apparently from a wedding and a decision to save money on the beer.

A 24 case of beer in Quebec is about $10 cheaper in Quebec than in Ontario. In this case it would have represented a savings of about $3260.

So in a small modern version of Smokey and the Bandit, without the bandit, a driver seemingly overloaded the rental truck he was driving and then continued travelling on the flat tire.

The discovery was made after the officers responded to a traffic hazard involving a rental van on November 1, 2023, around 2:10 p.m.

Unfolding the Scene: Upon receiving a call regarding a disabled rental van with a blown tire, L&A OPP officers rushed to the spot near mile marker 522 on Highway 401. The scene had rim marks extending down the highway, which gradually flattened out, indicating the vehicle’s deteriorating condition. The van, found approximately 1 km west of Highway 37, was still in motion despite its worn-out rim, now running on the hub, which began to exhibit signs of overheating with smoke emanating from the rear left wheel.

The Traffic Stop: The officers initiated a traffic stop, bringing the van to a halt without any incident. A preliminary interaction with the driver revealed four cases of beer placed in the front passenger seat area.

Oddly, the beer cases had descriptions only in French. The driver’s evasive responses, when questioned about the origin of the beer, raised suspicions.

Unearthing the Booty: A more thorough search led to the uncovering of a vast stash of beer cases filling the entire back of the van. The final count stood at 326 cases of 24 beers each, inclusive of various brands, both in bottles and cans. Upon interrogation, the driver confessed that the liquor was not procured through any authorized outlets in Ontario and was intended for a wedding, negating any claims of personal use.

Charges Laid: The precarious condition of the van, along with the unlawful possession and purchase of liquor, culminated in multiple charges against the driver.

The charges include unlawfully possessing liquor, unlawfully purchasing liquor, and operating an unsafe vehicle. The accused is slated for a provincial court appearance to respond to the charges. Following the incident, the officers seized the beer and had the van towed from the highway, ensuring the safety of other road users.

Why?

Beer is cheaper in Quebec than in Ontario. A comparison of beer prices between Quebec and Ontario reveals a notable difference, with Quebec offering lower prices for beer compared to Ontario. For instance, a 24-pack of Budweiser cans costs $30.99 in Quebec, while the same product is priced at $43.95 in Ontario at The Beer Store, which after accounting for taxes and deposits, comes down to a net price of $36.77​1​.

Various factors contribute to the lower beer prices in Quebec, including the competitive market with a higher number of retailers and the province’s liquor policies. The availability of beer in corner stores and grocery stores in Quebec, as opposed to primarily LCBO and The Beer Store outlets in Ontario, also plays a part in the price difference

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