The Asian organized crime group responsible for a massive shipment of ecstasy precursor chemicals in Richmond earlier this month is also behind what's described as the largest counterfeit cigarette seizure in B.C. history.
The cigarette and chemical seizures occurred just days apart, both in Richmond, but it wasn't until Tuesday morning that police unveiled the size of the cigarette bust, described as more than 10 million cigarettes worth nearly $5 million.
A Burnaby man and six men of Chinese citizenship are facing charges.
RCMP Const. Michael McLaughlin said this case illustrates that organized crime is diversifying its activities to wherever it can make money.
Earlier this month, The Richmond Review revealed the massive seizure of thousands of kilograms of a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of the street drug ecstasy.
McLaughlin said other contraband cigarettes have been found to contain plastic, mould and even pocket lint, adding to the already carcinogenic hazards of smoking.
Like the chemical precursor seizure, the contraband cigarettes, which were knock-offs of Marlboro and du Maurier, were first noticed in a shipping container at the Port of Vancouver.
The 51,000 cartons of cigarettes were stacked on 50 pallets and the shipment originated in China.
And much as they did with the chemical precursors, police did a controlled delivery of the cigarettes and then arrested the seven men at an undisclosed Richmond location.
McLaughlin said the cigarettes were likely destined for multiple locations in Canada
—with files from Black Press
By Martin van den Hemel
Published: November 30, 2010
I am assuming this is related to this story: Shipping, home raids net multimillion-dollar cache of ecstasy chemicals
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