Former Deputy OPP Commissioner Becomes NCACT Executive Director

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Toronto, Ontario–(Newsfile Corp. – March 28, 2022) – The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco’s (NCACT) announced today that former Deputy Commissioner, Provincial Commander, Investigations and Organized Crime of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Rick Barnum had been hired on as Executive Director of the Coalition.

“I am extremely proud to be joining the NCACT today as their Executive Director. This organization has been fighting contraband tobacco and organized crime for over a decade, and aligns well with my career in law enforcement where I helped to combat criminal gangs,” began Barnum.

Rick Barnum began his career in 1988, quickly climbing the ranks within the provincial police service. In 1993, he had his first foray into drug enforcement as an undercover detective. In 2005, he began working in the OPP Commissioner’s office as an Inspector, and from 2016 to 2019 was the Deputy Commissioner, Provincial Commander, Investigations and Organized Crime.

“From over 30 years in the OPP, with most of my time combatting organized crime, I know firsthand what criminal gangs can do to communities in Ontario and across Canada. These gangs are funded by the millions of dollars every day through the trafficking of illegal cigarettes, which they use to fund other illicit activities, such as guns, drugs, and human trafficking,” continued Barnum.

Research shows that Ontario continues to be the epicentre of contraband tobacco, where one in three cigarettes sold are illegal. The illicit trade continues to also grow outside of Ontario, with illegal cigarettes from the province being seized from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Criminal Intelligence Service Canada estimates that the contraband tobacco and cannabis trades accounts for over $12 billion in annual costs, including healthcare, lost productivity, and criminal justice. The RCMP has reported that over 175 criminal gangs are involved in the illicit trade, who are also involved in other illegal activities.

“As the new Executive Director for the NCACT, I will be pushing governments across Canada to take action against contraband tobacco and organized crime. It is well past time that we address this growing issue and support frontline officers in combatting illegal cigarettes. With the right policies and investments, we can combat this illicit trade, take away an important funding source from criminal gangs, and keep our communities safe,” concluded Barnum.

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The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed by organizations and associations concerned about the growing danger of contraband cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals of working together to educate people and urge government to take quick action to stop this growing threat. More information about the Coalition can be found on our website, www.stopcontrabandtobacco.ca.

Media Contact:

Kyle Larkin, NCACT Public Affairs
Telephone: 905-449-9077
Email: [email protected]

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/118002

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