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Inside Canada's cheese-smuggling problem (VIDEO)

Healthcare may be free in Canada, but cheese can be pricey.

Cheese smuggling CanadaEnlarge
Three Canadian men, including a former NRPS constable, were charged with smuggling more than C$200,000 (US $204,000) worth of cheese into southern Ontario. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Healthcare may be free in Canada, but cheese can be pricey.

Frugal Canadian restaurant owners in need of cheap cheese have relied on smugglers to provide low-cost American goods, but yesterday a joint US-Canada investigation busted the operation.

"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," a Niagara Regional Police Service release said. "The investigation revealed that there was a significant financial gain to be made in the smuggling operation."

Three Canadian men, including a former NRPS constable, were charged with smuggling more than C$200,000 (US $204,000) worth of cheese into southern Ontario. Cheese costs more in Canada due to dairy board restrictions and difficulty importing inexpensive American cheeses.

This comes less than a month after a $30 million maple syrup heist in Quebec, which the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are close to cracking. And with the cheese investigation, ongoing since January 2012, complete, maybe Canada can move on — keep an eye on the poutine mafia.

More on the cheesy situation via Global Toronto:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120928/canada-cheese-smuggling-problem