09/25/2012 05:50 pm ET

Canadian Cheese Smuggling: Cops May Be Involved In Operation To Bring Cheap Pizza Ingredients Across Border

It has been a bizarre summer for Canadian culinary capers.

In July we learned of a honey producer there who was robbed of 3 million bees. In August, there were reports that $30 million worth of maple syrup had gone missing from Quebec's strategic reserves.

Now, as summer draws to an end, reports have surfaced of a vast cheese-smuggling operation in Ontario. No joke.

The alleged scam, reports CBC News, hinges on smugglers sneaking cases of "brick" cheese from the U.S. into Canada, then selling it to restaurants and pizzerias.

Because of restrictions by the Canadian Dairy Board, cheese is markedly cheaper south of the border, meaning that a case of American smuggled cheese could go for $150, while the same cheese produced in Canada would cost around $240. According to the CBC, one trip for a cheese smuggler could earn between $1,000 and $2,000.

And this isn't just fly-by-night cheese smuggling, either. The Ottawa Sun has reason to believe some Niagara Falls cops may be in on the deal. When pressed, Const. Derek Watson told the paper yesterday the force cannot "deny or confirm allegations of any ongoing investigation."

Reached for comment by the UPI, Brandon Elms at Volcano Pizzeria in Fonthill, west of Niagara Falls, said he'd been approached a couple times by Canadian investigators trying to track down the sources of discounted dairy.

"We get all our stuff legit," he said. "We thought it was a joke at first. Who is going to go around trying to sell smuggled cheese? The cheese bandits, the mozzarella mafia!"


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