WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Ambassador Bridge seized 282,161 kg of manufactured tobacco this year — 74 per cent of the Canadian Border Services Agency’s total tobacco seizures in Southern Ontario.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Southern Ontario Region released its operational and enforcement highlights Thursday outlining the work employees have done to “safeguard our communities while supporting the economy during these unprecedented times.”

The 2020 highlights cover Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2020. 

“The CBSA continues to protect the economy and our communities and our officers work diligently to prevent smuggling across our borders,” said Christine Durocher, regional director general. “The work accomplished this year demonstrates the ongoing commitment of our organization, despite COVID-19 restrictions.”

Between the highlight period, CBSA Southern Ontario Region processed 1026 asylum claims, of which 84 per cent were deemed eligible.

As far as seizures go, the total amount of tobacco seized in the region increased by 313 per cent compared to the same period last year, 92,956 was seized in 2019 while 383,397 kg was seized this year, equating to a total value of $68.1 million.

The Ambassador Bridge seized 282,161 kg of manufactured tobacco within the highlight period accounting for 74 per cent of the region’s total tobacco seizures this year up to Oct. 31.

The value of narcotics seizures by the CBSA Southern Ontario Region increased by 98 per cent. In 2019 $32 million was seized compared to $64 million in 2020 with a combined weight of 589 kg.

Just over 44 per cent of all cocaine seized nationally, occurred in the Southern Ontario Region, CBSA says.

In addition, 134 firearms were seized which is under a third of the national total.

So far this year the CBSA Southern Ontario Region has processed 2,560,959 trucks, accounting for 57.5 per cent of the national volume with just under half processed at the Ambassador Bridge.

Amid the ongoing restrictions placed on travel restrictions, from March 23 to Oct. 31 the region has processed more than 2.6 million travellers. During this time 23 per cent of all national traffic was processed at the Ambassador Bridge while the Windsor Tunnel saw around 30 per cent of traveller volumes.