On the evening of September 19, 2017, the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) observed a suspicious vessel coming to shore in the area of Westley’s Point in South Glengarry Township. The vessel met up with a van on the shoreline and officers observed cargo being transferred to the van from the vessel. Officers intervened as the van was departing the scene.
The vehicle’s occupants fled on foot into a nearby cornfield. One was located shortly thereafter by officers on scene while the remaining suspect was located with the assistance of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police (SD&G OPP) members and an OPP canine unit. The van was found to be loaded with 65 black garbage bags filled with 1,161kgs of contraband fine tobacco. Felix St-Georges-Gobeil (aged 22) and Drake Simpson-Gratton (aged 19), from the province of Quebec, were subsequently charged with Possession of Unstamped Tobacco under the Excise Act. Both males are also facing charges under the Tobacco Tax Act. They were released to appear in court at the Cornwall Provincial Courthouse on November 21, 2017.
During the evening of September 20, 2017, the CRTF attempted to stop a vehicle after observing a suspicious activity on the waterfront. The vehicle fled from police in a dangerous manner, but in the interest of public safety it was not pursued. Officers subsequently received information that the suspect vehicle was on Cornwall Island. Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS) members were called to assist and located the suspect vehicle and its occupants.
176kgs of contraband tobacco was found inside the vehicle. The vehicle and its occupants were turned over to the CRTF for further processing. The driver, Stephen Simonds (aged 54), from Constable, NY, was charged with Flight from Police, Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Possession of Unstamped Tobacco as well as provincial Tobacco Tax Act charges. He was released to appear in Cornwall Provincial Court on November 21, 2017. Checks revealed that the passenger, Jordan Deer (aged 28) from Hogansburg, NY, was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant from Kahnawake QC for serious criminal offences, as well as a warrant of arrest from Valleyfield RCMP for an Excise Act, 2001 matter. Deer was charged with Possession of Unstamped Tobacco, breach of his Recognizance as well as provincial Tobacco Tax Act charges. Deer was held for a bail hearing and arrangements were made for inter-provincial extradition for his outstanding warrants. Deer’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 24, 2017 at the Cornwall Provincial courthouse.
If you have any information regarding criminal activity in your area, you can contact the CRTF at 1-613-937-2800 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
The CRTF is a joint forces partnership that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of Finance. The CRTF wishes to thank the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Ontario Provincial Police (SD&G OPP), OPP East Region Emergency Response Team, OPP Canine and the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service for their assistance in concluding these two investigations in a safe and expeditious manner.