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Four Edmonton stores charged with selling illegal cigarettes

A joint operation between the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) led to four Edmonton convenience stores being charged with selling illegal tobacco.

The investigation began in January, with reports of illegal tobacco products being sold from certain stores in the 118 Avenue area.

The following month police confirmed that four stores were selling these products: 7 Days Convenience, Classic Corner, Sihem Market, and Classic Mini Mart. A search warrant was executed at these stores on February 9.

During the search, police seized about $24,000 contraband tobacco, including almost 400 cartons of cigarettes, over 100 individual packs of cigarettes, 120 cigars, and seven boxes of loose tobacco.

The owners of 7 Days Convenience are Million Tewelde, Ermias Gebrehiwet, and Biniyam Adhanom. They’re all facing charges of trafficking contraband tobacco and fraud.

Semhar Kafil, owner of both the Classic corner and Classic Mini Mart, is facing similar charges, while the owner of Sihem Market was issued a violation ticket.

According to EPS, illegal tobacco products are described as:

  • Any tobacco product that does not comply with federal and provincial laws related to importation, marking, manufacturing, stamping and payment of duties and taxes.
  • Product that comes from four main sources: illegal manufacturers, counterfeits, tax-exempt diversions and resale of stolen legal tobacco.
  • Products that can be recognized by the absence of a red (Alberta) or peach/light tan (Canada) stamp bearing the “DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ” on packages of cigarettes and cigars or pouches of tobacco.
Illegal cigarettes.
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