CORNWALL, Ontario – During the late evening hours of July 19, members of the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) were notified of suspicious activity occurring at a shoreline South Glengarry, Ontario residence. As members converged to the location, they observed a vehicle depart the shoreline, without headlights, heading northbound toward County Road 2 (CR #2).
As the vehicle headed westbound on CR #2, the operator activated his headlights.
Police initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle, a 2002 Pontiac Montana van, to further investigate. As the van came to a stop, its two occupants exited the vehicle and ran in an effort to flee police. One of the occupants, Joey Bouchard, 18, from St-Stanislas-De-Kostka, Quebec, was apprehended by police following a short foot pursuit. The second male was successful in avoiding capture.
Bouchard was brought to the Cornwall RCMP Detachment where he was processed and later released on his own Recognizance with a court date of Aug. 30. In addition to the van, 48 garbage bags containing contraband fine cut tobacco, weighing 740 kilograms, was seized.
On July 28, subsequent to further investigation, the CRTF arrested the second individual, a young person as defined by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, from the Ormstown, Quebec area, for his involvement in this crime. The individual was processed and later released from custody pending his Aug. 30 court appearance.
During the evening hours of July 20, CRTF members, working in partnership with Valleyfield RCMP members, observed a dark duck style vessel with a large outboard motor traveling east on the St. Lawrence River. The boat landed ashore in a Bainsville residential area. As the members approached to investigate, a vehicle, a 2006 Ford Explorer, is observed departing the area eastbound on County Road 2 at a high rate of speed. While this was occurring, the involved vessel was observed leaving the St. Lawrence River shoreline heading southbound on the river. The marine unit attempted to intercept the vessel however it failed to stop for police.
Members attempted to initiate a traffic stop of the Ford Explorer shortly after it had crossed into the province of Quebec. The driver, who began tossing large garbage bags filled with contraband fine cut tobacco from the driver’s side window, failed to stop for police. CRTF members disengaged, following the vehicle at a distance, and sought assistance from members of the Sûreté du Quebec (SQ).
As SQ members attempted to stop the Ford Explorer, the operator again failed to stop and continued throwing garbage bags of contraband tobacco from his vehicle. The driver eventually lost control of the vehicle and ended up in a ditch in the Valleyfield, Quebec area. In his continuing efforts to avoid capture, the driver exited the Ford Explorer and proceeded to flee the scene on foot. He was arrested a short time later with the assistance of the RCMP Police Dog Service. After being taken to a hospital for examination for injuries he sustained during this occurrence, the driver, a 24 year old male from the Akwesasne area, was brought to Cornwall RCMP Detachment where he was processed and later released on his own recognizance returning Sept. 13.
In addition to the Explorer, 25 bags of contraband fine cut tobacco weighing 390 kilograms was seized by police. The individual involved in this matter cannot be named as the charges have not yet been deposed in court. However, in addition to being charged for being in possession of contraband tobacco product, he faces a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle as well as a charge for flight from police.
Just after midnight on July 25 CRTF members were called to Cornwall’s Port of Entry (POE) to process a domestic contraband seizure. Erica Francis, 24, from Akwesasne, Ontario and Adam Bomberry, 22 from Akwesasne, New York, were arrested for having in their possession approximately 20 kilograms of unstamped flavoured pipe tobacco. Members attended the POE, arrested and questioned both individuals, who were each later released from custody on a Promise to Appear with a Sept. 27 court date. The involved vehicle, a 2010 Mercedes GLK350, along with the contraband was seized.
On the evening of July 26, while on patrol in the South Glengarry, Ontario, area, CRTF members observed a white van backed to the St. Lawrence River water’s edge. As police moved in to further investigate, they discovered that the van was loaded with 800 kilograms of contraband fine cut tobacco. An individual, a 36-year-old male from the Valleyfield, Quebec, was arrested for his involvement in this criminal activity. The male was transported to the Cornwall RCMP Detachment where he was processed and later released from custody on his own recognizance returning to court on Sept. 13.
The individuals noted above, who have been charged under the provisions of the Excise Act, 2001, also face charges under the provincial Tobacco Tax Act for possession of unmarked cigarettes.
“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 Quebec border”, stated Insp. Steve Ethier, Officer in Charge of the Cornwall Regional 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.”
If you have any information regarding this crime or any other criminal activity in your area, please contact your local police service or reach out to an investigator with the CRTF at 1-613-937-2800 or 1-800-387-0020.