Blue Line

Former Deputy OPP Commissioner becomes NCACT Executive Director

April 14, 2022  By Blue Line Staff

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

“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.

“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,” concluded 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.

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