Canada/US Tobacco Diversion Workshop
Ottawa, Canada - Today, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency,
the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms and the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police concluded the first ever Canada/US Tobacco
Diversion Workshop, held Nov. 5-8 in Ottawa.
Guest speakers at the four-day workshop included Denis Lefebvre, Assistant
Commissioner of CCRA, Bradley Buckles, Director of ATF, Garry Loepply,
Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Paul
Cellucci, US Ambassador to Canada.
The workshop was designed to bring together experts in the fields of
tobacco-related investigations and intelligence to discuss the serious
issue of contraband tobacco and the effects this illicit market is having
on both sides of the border.
Challenges identified during the workshop included an increase in the
level of tobacco diversion, the widening scope of increasingly sophisticated
diversion and trafficking activities, and links to organized crime, all
of which result in much more complex investigations.
Highlights from the workshop included renewed partnerships, agreements
to share best practices, a call for improved communication and information
sharing between Canadian and US agencies and the development of strategies
to address the international problem of tobacco diversion more effectively.
According to Garry Leoppky, RCMP Deputy Commissioner, Operations, "The
ideas that emerged during this workshop will help form the foundation
of an integrated, intelligence-led coalition against the criminal element
behind the illicit trade of tobacco. Through the collaboration and dedication
of everyone who participated in this workshop, we will drastically reduce
the effectiveness of criminal operations, and in turn, make our communities-and
indeed the world-safer and more secure for our citizens."