More than 1.5 million grams of illegal tobacco destined for the Lower Mainland was seized in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
In a news release Tuesday, the finance ministry said the amount being smuggled was equivalent to 1.6 million cigarettes and represented more than $425,000 in provincial tobacco tax loss.
Three operations targeted the Lower Mainland: one in Vancouver and Burnaby, where 1,558,000 grams were seized, a Downtown Eastside operation where 10,000 grams were seized, and a Richmond bust in which officials seized 1,140 grams.
It’s a sharp drop compared to the year prior, when 5.75 million grams were recovered.
The province said it cracks down on contraband tobacco because it is cheaper than legal tobacco, and it contributes to overuse, reduces tax revenue, and is often mixed up with gang activity.