Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Smuggling Ring Busted in Vancouver

An organized crime ring that allegedly conspired to ship counterfeit cigarettes and ingredients to make illegal drugs to the Port of Vancouver, Canada from Asia has been shut down, British Columbia police say.

During the course of a two-year investigation, which ended in early November, 11 containers were seized, seven in Vancouver and four in Toronto, containing a total of 583,600 cartons of cigarettes and 6,270 kilograms of the liquid chemical phenyl-2-propanone, which can be used as an ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamines, authorities say.

In late October, eight people were arrested on smuggling and conspiracy charges as part of the investigation. A handful more are still being sought, including two Vancouver-area residents.

The investigation began in 2009 after the Canada Border Services Agency intercepted a container at the Port of Vancouver containing unstamped counterfeit cigarettes destined for Toronto.

After the CBSA shared the information with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the two agencies then worked with other Canadian and international agencies to identify and shut down the responsible parties.