Cheese smuggling ring raises questions in Niagara Falls
blog by S.J. Velasquez • September 26, 2012 @ 9:10am
Canadian police officers are suspected to be involved in an international contraband smuggling ring. But it’s not drugs or weapons crossing the border illegally—it’s cheese.
Cases of smuggled queso have been making their way from the U.S. to Canada, and then the cheese is being sold to Niagara Falls pizzerias, prompting the Niagara Regional Police Service to investigate area pizza joints and—in a weird twist—question fellow police force members believed to be responsible for aiding in the smuggling, according to CBC News.
“Brick” cheese, a common pizza cheese, is about three times more expensive in Canada than it is in America. Anyone smuggling large loads of the dairy product without declaring at the border or paying duties would technically be violating the Customs Act. On top of that, the contraband cheese would fail to have proper permits and licences from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Since the beginning of the year, two loads of cheese have been seized at border crossing points in Niagara, according to Niagara Falls Review.
Given the added attention on the issue in recent weeks, the Canada Border Services Agency released the following statement:
“The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in the Southern Ontario Region has been working closely with its partners at the Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Niagara Regional Police on this investigation, although no criminal charges have yet been laid by the CBSA in this matter, our investigation is ongoing and we cannot discuss the matter further at this time.”