Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrest 2, seize $485,000 worth of pipe tobacco

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DETROIT – The Detroit-Windsor Shiprider team, made up of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, arrested two U.S. citizens and seized 1500 pounds of contraband tobacco over the international border near Algonac, Michigan, Thursday.

The illegal contraband consisted of more than 1,500 pounds of water pipe tobacco with a retail value of approximately $485,000, including nearly $205,000 in evaded duties and taxes.

The Coast Guard and RCMP, along with U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, Ontario Provincial Police and Canadian Border Security Agency took part in the arrest of the two individuals following their transport of the contraband over the international border in the vicinity of Walpole Island in northern Lake St Clair.

“This is a great success for the Shiprider program,” said Capt. Scott Lemasters, commander of Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “It comes on the heels of an operation last month in which U.S. and Canadian law enforcement exercised the very same cross-border interdiction capabilities and authorities as used for this case. We couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”

Canadian leadership echoed similar thoughts noting how the Shiprider program removes the exploitive opportunity for criminal elements to use our shared maritime border for illegal enterprise.

Cross-border maritime law enforcement, regionally known as Shiprider operations, involves joint patrols with specially ‘trained Coast Guard and Canadian law enforcement officers, each officer serving as both a U.S. Customs Officer and Canadian Peace Officer.

Shiprider operations respect both U.S. and Canadian sovereignty and are based on the principles of shared border management, collaborative law enforcement, appropriate and measured information sharing, and robust privacy protection.

The Shiprider program is an integral part of the Northern Border security strategy in the Great Lakes region.

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