Home News White worried about tobacco industry’s future

White worried about tobacco industry’s future

Derek White (left) has been listening to testimony for two weeks as the local businessman stands accused of fraud and gangsterism (along with Hunter Montour), and is concerned with the overwhelming prevalence of undercover agents throughout the industry.

The fraud trial against local men Derek White and Hunter Montour wrapped its second week of testimony yesterday, as both continue to hear testimony of how the government investigated the tobacco industry through surveillance, undercover agents and other methods.

The two men are facing charges they defrauded the Quebec and Canadian government of taxes while transporting tobacco from the United States across the border, and were scooped up in Operation Mygale in 2016.

White told The Eastern Door Monday that hearing testimony from crown witnesses, including undercover agents on both sides of the border, and the lengths government agents will go to catch those in the tobacco trade from Kahnawake, does not inspire hope for the future of the industry.

“I’ve been in the business of tobacco since I was 15 years old,” said White. “If this keeps on going with all these undercover cops, anybody that’s in the business now doing tobacco is going to be in the same position I am now.”

Jurors have large binders full of information, and USB keys with every aspect of the crown investigation that they will have to file through and decide whether the two men are guilty.

Lead crown attorney David Moffat did not want to speak about the trial while it was ongoing, other than to say he was happy with how the two sides have worked together to ensure the trial does not drag on unnecessarily.

“Defence has been great about making admissions and it’s actually been going pretty quickly,” he said. “You agree on what you can agree on, and then have the debate on what you need to debate on.”

Monday, an undercover SQ agent spoke about working as a forklift driver at a warehouse that moved tobacco, while recording transactions with a concealed microphone. Last week, a US Homeland Security agent spoke about driving the truck transporting tobacco across the border.

The prevalence of undercover agents, White said, changes the risks for those wanting to enter the industry.

“These people need to understand – our own people, my friends, my family – if you want to get into this business now, you better have a lot of money because there are a lot of cops,” said White.

“Undercover cops are doing all these jobs of the people bringing in the tobacco. It’s the police that are bringing in the tobacco now.”

Montour and White both said that sitting through the days of testimony has not been easy, and neither man feels the crown is proving any guilt.

“It’s frustrating, it’s annoying and it’s boring, plain and simple,” said White. “We’re sitting here for two weeks now, same bull crap… It has nothing to do with us.”

In addition to the frustration and annoyance comes the legal bill that continues to pile up for both men, as they sit at the Palais de Justice courtroom.

“The whole time, you’re sitting there and you see the metre running,” said White. “It’s like sitting in a taxi in traffic.”


Kanien’kéha translation below

Teho’nikónhrhare ne White ne oiénkwa aorihwá:ke

Ne ka’nikonhrhá:ton tsi tehonwatiia’toréhton ne tehniiashe Derek White tánon Hunter Montour wahatíhsa ne tehiaia’kserakéhaton ne thetén:re, tehnitsá:ron wahonathónte’ne tsi wahatirihwahní:rate tsi ní:ioht ne kakoráhsera tsi ioriho’kwá:ton ne oién:kwa aorihwá:ke, wahonten’nikón:raren, na’kónshon tsi wahatirihó’kwate.

Kí tehniiáshe enhonwatikaraién:hase tsi roti’nikonhrhá:ton iáken ne Quebec tánon Canada aokó:ra ne taxes, wahstonhronón:ke iáken tehniristiiaktháhkwe ne oiénkwa tánon 2016 shiwatohserenhá:wi Operation Mygale waakoié:na. Teho’nikónhrhare ne White ne oiénkwa aorihwá:ke

White washakohró:ri ne Eastern Door ne shahenténta’ne tsi ní:ioht tsi wahontá:ti ne ratirihwahní:rats tetsá:ron wahstonhró:non tánon ne korahró:non aonkwé:ta, wahiatkátho tsi niió:re nién:we ne kakoráhsera aiakoié:na ne oiénkwa ronaterihwahtentiáton ne Kahnawa’kehró:non, iah teiorhá:rats iahontáhsonteren ne ahotiianeráhsten.

“15 sha’tewakohseriiá:kon né shiwatió’te ne oién:kwa aorihwá:ke,” wahén:ron ne White. “Tóka’ ienhontahsónteren tsi nihotiiérenhátie kí ronattsistohkwahséhton, akwé:kon ne né sewaio’te ne oiénkwa e’tho nensewaiá:tawen tsi ni’ niwatiá:tawens ne ónwa.”

Ne ratirihwèn:tha kahiatonhserá:tens rotí:ien nia’tékon rotihiatón:nion, tánon ken’ní:wa’a wató:roks ne USB skátne ne kwah tsik nitiotieráton tsi kariho’kwats ne kakó:ra, wentá:on kwah token:en enhatikaén:ion tóka’ ken rotihnhí:kon ki tehniiahshe.

Ohénton ié:rate tehari’wakéhnhas David Moffat iah tehothontá:ton ne ahatharáhkwe tsi niiohtonhátie tsi teionkhiia’torétha, kwah nek tsi wahén:ron rotshennón:ni tsi skátne rotiió’te tetsarónhkwen ne tóhsa tó nén:we né: aonté:sere.

“Ne thonwatíhnhes rotiianerahstonhá:tie tsi akwékon ronathrorihá:tie ne ki’ aorí:wa

iohstorátie tsi í:we, enhserihwanón:we’ne nahò:ten enwá:ton serihwanón:we’s thó:ne ó:nen teserihwatirón:ten nahò:ten ne serihwá:ia’ks.”

Shahenténta’ne ne SQ rottsistohkwahséhton ne wahatharáhkwe tsi tewékhwa nahò:ten ne iókste roio’tén:en tsi nón:we nikáien ne oiénkwa tánon rohsehtón:nen ne kawennaié:nas akwékon roterien’tará:on tsi ní:ioht tsi ronaterihwahtentiá:ton. Shitiahia’kseresón:ne ne ne’ ne US Homeland Security raonnonkwé:ta wahatá:ti wahathró:ri tsi waható:ri ne ka’serehtowá:ne taharistíia’kte ne oiénkwa.

Tsi iá:we rón:ne’s ne ronattsistohkwahséhton, wahén:ron ne White, tenwatté:ni ne ónhka ahate’nién:ten ne á:rehre ahoió’ten.

“Wentá:on ne onkwehshón:’a enhoti’nikonhraién:ta’ne – í:i ontionkwè:ta, onkwatenro’shón:’a, akhwà:tsire – tóka’ íhsehre ne ahsaterihwahtentia’te ioiánere ki’ é:so aiesahwistaién:take áse’ ken ratiná:kere ne karíhton,” wahén:ron ne White.

“Ne ne ronattsistohkwahséhton nón:wa né shotiió’te ne ónkwe akoio’ténhsera ne aontahatíhawe ne oiénkwa. Karíhton ó:nen tethatíhas ne oién:kwa.”

Tetsá:ron ne Montour tánon White wahní:ron iah tewatié:sen tsi nikarí:wes tehonwatiia’torétha, iah teiakenéhre ne tieia’toretakhwáke enionkihnhítsheron ken.

“Enhsa’nikonhrókten, ioterihòn:ko tánon iah teionwé:sen, watié:sen ne aiako’nikonhraiénta’ne,” wahén:ron ne White. “Ó:nen teiahia’kserá:ke ken shiiakenítskote, teiotenonhwarorí:tonte… Iah thénon í:i teionkenirihwá:ke.”

Ktie’ská:te tsi enhsa’nikonhrókten tánon tsi ioterihón:ko, iotehiahróntie tsi níkon enhonwatikarahehrhá:se ne tehnitsá:ron tsi thnitskóte ne Palais de Justice tieia’torehtahkhwáke.

“Tsi nikarí:wes e’tho tehsítskote satkáthos tsi iotehiaróntie tsi ensatkon’tsherahehrhá:se,” wahén:ron ne White. “Kwah né:ne taxi tsa’titáhkhe tánon iote’serehtaká:te.”

Translation: Mina Beauvais

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Daniel J. Rowe is an award-winning reporter and photographer originally from BC. In addition to journalism, he produces and edits a Shakespeare-inspired blog and podcast called the Bard Brawl. His writing has also appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Canadian Press, U.S. Lacrosse magazine and elsewhere. His facial hair rotates with the season, and he’s recently discovered the genius of wearing a cowboy hat. He wrote for The Eastern Door from 2011 to 2019.