Smugglers lead cops on wild chases
Waterfront residents have helped the Cornwall Regional Task Force seize two tonnes of contraband tobacco in two weeks.
“In June, the CRTF and its partners conducted a door-to-door campaign, speaking to most residents along the St. Lawrence River shoreline from Cornwall to the Québec border,” says Insp. Steve Ethier, Officer in Charge of the task force. “As a result, we have been receiving ongoing calls from concerned citizens when they suspect crime is occurring in their neighbourhoods. I would like to thank the public for their continued assistance and support.”
Over the past month, officers have been involved in chases on land and water, ending in the confiscation of large quantities of smokes and the arrest of alleged smugglers. Some pursuits have resembled TV scripts. For instance, July 20, a high-speed interprovincial chase ensued when CRTF members, working in partnership with Valleyfield RCMP members, observed a dark duck-style vessel with a large outboard motor travelling east on the St. Lawrence River. When the boat landed in Bainsville, a 2006 Ford Explorer was seen speeding away on County Road 2. The boat then sped away. The police marine unit attempted to intercept the vessel, however, it refused to stop for authorities.
Tossed from vehicle
As police tried to stop the truck as it crossed into Québec, the driver began tossing out large garbage bags filled with contraband. The CRTF members disengaged, following the vehicle at a distance, and sought assistance from members of the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).
As SQ officers attempted to stop the Explorer, the operator kept throwing bags of contraband tobacco from his vehicle. The driver eventually lost control of the vehicle and ended up in a ditch in the Valleyfield area. The driver fled on foot but was later apprehended with the assistance of the RCMP canine unit. A 24-year-old man from the Akwesasne, Québec area, was charged with possession of contraband tobacco, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and flight from police.
In addition to the Explorer, 25 bags containing 390 kilograms of illegal tobacco were seized.
Just after midnight July 25, at Cornwall’s Port of Entry Erica Francis, 24, from Akwesasne, Ontario and Adam Bomberry, 22, of Akwesasne, N.Y., were arrested for having in their possession 20 kilograms of unstamped flavoured pipe tobacco. A 2010 Mercedes GLK350 was seized along with the contraband.
On the evening of July 26, while on patrol in South Glengarry, officers observed a white
van backed to the St. Lawrence River water’s edge. Police discovered the van was loaded with 800 kilograms of contraband fine cut tobacco. A 36-yearold Valleyfield man was arrested.
July 19 the CRTF was notified of suspicious activity at a shoreline South Glengarry residence. As officers arrived, they saw a vehicle departing, without its headlights on.
When police stopped the 2002 Pontiac Montana, two men fled. Joey Bouchard, 18, from StStanislas-De- Kostka, Québec, was apprehended following a short foot pursuit.
The second suspect was suc- cessful in avoiding capture -- for nine days.
In addition to the van, 48 garbage bags containing contraband fine cut tobacco, weighing 740 kilograms, were seized.
July 28, subsequent to further investigation, the CRTF arrested the second suspect, a minor from the Ormstown, Québec area.
If you have any information regarding this crime or any other criminal activity in your area, contact your local police service or reach out to an investigator with the CRTF at 1-613937-2800 or 1-800-387-0020.
The CRTF is a joint forces partnership that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, and the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The task force receives ongoing assistance from the SQ.