Calgary Police charge contraband and meth traffickers
Calgary police have charged five individuals for selling contraband and meth.

Keean Bexte

May 31, 2024

The Calgary Police Service (CPS) has announced charges against the five individuals for trafficking contraband cigarettes in downtown Calgary—and some meth—seizing approximately $140,000 worth of illicit products. 

Calgary Police charge contraband and meth traffickers

From March 31 to May 16, the CPS District Operations Team conducted an investigation targeting five suspects believed to be involved in the sale of contraband cigarettes in the 800 block of Third Street S.E. 

The investigation led police to a storage locker in the 300 block of 10 Avenue S.E. and a 2008 Jeep Patriot. 

Search warrants for the vehicle, suspects’ residences, and the storage locker uncovered additional evidence linking the operation to two more storage lockers.

On May 16, police arrested four men and executed search warrants resulting in them seizing:

  • 367 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth approximately $55,050
  • 153 packs of contraband cigarettes worth approximately $3,060
  • $3,747 in cash
  • Brass knuckles

Further investigation between May 16 and May 28 identified a fifth individual supplying illegal contraband cigarettes from various locations. The CPS arrested this individual on May 28, and executed four additional search warrants. The seizures included:

  • 341 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth approximately $51,150
  • 1,837 packs of contraband cigarettes worth approximately $27,555
  • $902 in cash
  • A BB gun
  • 5 grams of methamphetamine

As a result of the investigation, Gamal Salim Bulbul, 53, Jason Troy Papequash, 46, Abdelaziz Mohamed Awad, 55, Mohamed Abdelaziz Awd, 23, and Abdulsatar Amad Luhar, 46, all apparently of Calgary, have been charged.

The surge in contraband tobacco in Canada has become a significant issue, with law enforcement agencies increasingly cracking down on the illegal operations. 

Feds blamed for lacking national contraband strategy

The feds are facing criticism for their perceived inaction and lack of effective measures to curb the influx of illegal tobacco products.

Nothing in the Liberals’ 2024 budget mentions an intention to take on contraband tobacco. Instead, the government boasts about raising the taxes on legal cigarettes by $5.49 per carton.

According to the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT), this will increase the flow of illegal cigarettes.

This latest seizure comes on the heels of Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis’s (AGLC) recent seizure of several crates of contraband tobacco, which pushed lost federal tax revenue past $10 million in the last nine months in Alberta alone.

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