Thunder Bay Resident Slapped with $250,000 Fine for Possession of Illegal Untaxed Tobacco

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Thunder Bay, ON – Anisul-Islam Rayhan, a resident of Thunder Bay, has been hit with a hefty fine of $250,000 for his involvement in the possession of unmarked cigarettes intended for sale.

The conviction was handed down on December 4, 2023, at the Thunder Bay Ontario Court of Justice.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred on February 21, 2023, when a police constable from the Thunder Bay Ontario Provincial Police detachment conducted a traffic stop on a U-Haul truck traveling along Highway 11/17 in Shabaqua, Ontario, Township of Goldie.

During the stop, Anisul-Islam Rayhan, the operator of the truck, failed to provide the correct documentation.

Subsequently, an inspector from the Ministry of Transportation conducted a commercial inspection to ensure that items were properly secured within the cargo area of the truck.

During the inspection, a strong odor of tobacco was detected, leading to the discovery of a staggering 2,503,630 cigarettes of various brands in the cargo area of the truck. These tobacco products were seized and subsequently forfeited.

In addition to the $250,000 fine imposed by the court for possession of unmarked cigarettes intended for sale, a 25 percent victim fine surcharge was applied, along with costs, as required under the Provincial Offences Act.

Cigarettes that lack Ontario’s yellow stamp when sold in cartons or packages are deemed illegal, with certain exceptions. Similarly, cigarettes sold in clear plastic bags are also illegal, as is engaging in the tobacco business without the requisite permits.

Notably, the Ministry of Finance operates a grant program for local law enforcement agencies, aimed at supporting tobacco investigations within their respective jurisdictions. For more information on this program, interested parties can contact TEGP@ontario.ca.

The conviction of Anisul-Islam Rayhan adds to the list of over 335 Tobacco Tax Act convictions in Ontario since January 2020, resulting in fines exceeding $2.9 million, 27 jail terms, 56 probation terms, and five community service terms.

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