Something stinks in Ontario
The illegal cheese racket reportedly raked in profits of CDN$165,000.
If something stinks in Southern Ontario, it probably is the cheese.
Three Canadian nationals were arrested and charged Thursday in “a large-scale smuggling scheme” to distribute CDN$200,000 in cheese and other foods from the US to restaurants in Southern Ontario, according to a statement from the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS).
“The network involved the purchasing of cases of cheese and other food items and transporting these cases into Canada, without declaring the items or paying duty,” the statement read.
Illegal cheeses earned the accused a profit of well over 80 percent of the cheese's estimates value, authorities said.
One of the accused was NRPS' own constable, Scott Heron, 39. Another suspect, Casey Langelaan, 48, is also a former NRPS employee, and the third man implicated, Bernie Pollino, 44, is a Fort Erie resident, unaffiliated with the police service.
Earlier this week authorities told CBC they were conducting a sweeping “internal investigation into cheese smuggling, allegedly by some members of their own force.”
Canadian dairy prices are significantly elevated by government measures to maintain the livelihood of its farmers amid international competition from south of the border and beyond. Ottawa also imposes strict duties on US imports to maintain the viability of the domestic market.
Reports say smugglers offered Ontario restauranteurs cheese stocks at significantly lower prices.
NRPS did not reveal what kinds of cheese were smuggled into the country.