02/04/2015 03:16 EST | Updated 04/06/2015 05:59 EDT

Alberta Crown stays illegal tobacco charges against former First Nation chief

EDMONTON - The Alberta Crown has stayed charges against the former chief of the Montana First Nation in a case involving 16 million contraband cigarettes.

Former chief Carolyn Buffalo and Robbie Dickson, president of Quebec-based Rainbow Tobacco Co., were arrested in 2011 following an investigation by the Alberta Gaming and Lottery Commission.

The contraband smokes were not marked for legal sale in Alberta and were seized from a building on the central Alberta reserve.

The two were charged under the Alberta Tobacco Tax Act with illegally possessing and storing contraband cigarettes.

A government official confirms charges against Buffalo were stayed last Thursday but the case against Dickson is proceeding in court.

When the charges were laid, the Alberta government estimated it would have lost $3 million in tobacco tax revenue if the seized cigarettes had been sold.