NEWS
01/19/2016 12:25 EST | Updated 01/19/2017 00:12 EST

2 men charged in seizure of contraband tobacco at Edmonton convenience store

EDMONTON — Two men have been charged in the seizure of more than 300 kilograms of contraband shisha tobacco, contraband cigarettes, and flavoured cigars at a convenience store in Edmonton.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission says it found the contraband at Alex's Convenience Store after obtaining a search warrant.

Hiwot Atnafu and Alemayehu (Alex) Girma have been charged with several violations, including fraud over $5,000, trafficking in contraband tobacco as well as charges under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act for possession of more than 1,000 grams of tobacco.

Both are scheduled to appear in Edmonton provincial court on March 16.

The commission says the lost tax revenue on the contraband products is more than $116,000.

Contraband tobacco is any tobacco product that does not comply with federal and provincial laws related to importation, marking, manufacturing, stamping and payment of duties and taxes.

It comes from illegal manufacturers, counterfeits, tax-exempt diversions, and resale of stolen legal tobacco.

The commission says contraband tobacco doesn't have a red (Alberta) or peach/light tan (Canada) stamp bearing the "DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTE" on packages.

All wholesalers and importers of tobacco into Alberta must be licensed to sell or import tobacco for resale.

In addition, all tobacco products must be labelled according to federal and provincial regulations.