We know Canada as our rather large, well-meaning neighbor to the north, but is the country really the world's contraband farmer's market underneath the overly polite demeanor and funny sweaters?
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CBC reports three men, one a current Niagara-area police officer, were arrested on Thursday and charged with smuggling $200,000 of cheese from the U.S. and reselling it to restaurants up north. As the BBC points out, because of restrictions put in place by the country's national dairy board milk and cheese are more expensive in Canada. Sometimes three times as much as one could pay in the U.S. The three men were able to move the contraband cheese by selling it to restaurants. They made $165,000 in profit before two restaurant owners fingered one of the guys and reported him to authorities for offering to sell them cheap U.S. cheese. (Which means enough restaurants in the Niagara area agreed to the deal for them to make $365,000 in revenue before two guys realized smuggling cheese is illegal.)
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The other high-profile Canadian caper of the year, that $30 million maple syrup heist from the end of August, remains unsolved. Over 10 million pounds of syrup was removed from the Canadian reserves, and, presumably, stored in warehouse in Southern Ontario and resold to the highest bidder. Why else would anyone steal that much maple syrup. Also, what is the black market price for maple syrup? There a man somewhere in Canada, or the U.S., negotiating the sale of stolen maple syrup, plus some cheese and fresh from the ground vegetables. Has the buy local movement gone so far that contraband vegetables are going to be the next big thing in Brooklyn?