Maple syrup seized in N.B. may have been stolen in Quebec

Quebec provincial police and the RCMP have seized a large quantity of maple syrup from an export company in northwestern New Brunswick.

The syrup seized from S.K. Export in Kedgwick was produced in Quebec and is believed to be linked to a high-profile theft of $30 million worth of maple syrup from a warehouse northeast of Montreal in the summer.

But Étienne St.-Pierre, who owns the export business, maintains he bought the syrup from one of his regular suppliers.

He gave police the names and addresses of his Quebec suppliers, he told CBC News.

St.-Pierre estimates officers, who were still on the scene Wednesday afternoon, have seized about 400,000 pounds of his supply.

"Since yesterday, they start to load the stuff in the truck, and then the trailer load," he said.

"They load six loads last night, they're going, and now I think they're going to load two more loads. The drums and totes and everything from Quebec."

A spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec declined to comment, saying only that the investigation is ongoing.

Last week, officers from Quebec's provincial police and the RCMP executed a search warrant at S.K. Export.

The business was under investigation after thieves stole maple syrup from a warehouse in St-Louis-de-Blandford, about 160 kilometres northeast of Montreal in late August.

At that time, the general manager of S.K. Export, Julienne Bossé-Desrosiers told Radio-Canada she had documents to prove the company bought its syrup directly from producers.

The warehouse held about 3.4 million litres of bulk maple syrup, which belonged to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. The federation represents the province's 7,500 producers and administers a bulk sale system with quotas on individual operations.

The heist was discovered when officials noticed a large number of storage barrels were empty.

If the entire warehouse's contents were stolen, it would represent more than a tenth of Quebec's 2012 harvest. Quebec produces three-quarters of the world's maple syrup.

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