Home | Australia | Melbourne man arrested over 10 tonne illicit tobacco haul

Melbourne man arrested over 10 tonne illicit tobacco haul

  • Australia Border Force arrested a man over alleged illicit tobacco importation     
  • The man  was arrested at a storage facility carrying 800 kilograms of tobacco 
  • ABF uncovered  250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco and 5,000 filled cigarettes 
  • ABF expects more similar results with a multi-agency Illicit Tobacco Taskforce

Shri Gayathirie Rajen For Daily Mail Australia

A Melbourne man has been arrested over the alleged importation of around 10 tonnes of illicit tobacco into Australia which represents an estimated $10 million in duty evaded.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) arrested a 43-year-old man when he returned to a storage facility at Ravenhall in a van, allegedly carrying a further 800 kilograms of tobacco.  

In October 2017, the ABF started an investigation targeting the storage facility. 

In April, 2018, the ABF detector dogs were called in to examine a second facility and a number of units at both locations.

A Melbourne man has been arrested over the alleged importation of around 10 tonnes of illicit tobacco into Australia which represents an estimated $10 million in duty evaded

A Melbourne man has been arrested over the alleged importation of around 10 tonnes of illicit tobacco into Australia which represents an estimated $10 million in duty evaded

A Melbourne man has been arrested over the alleged importation of around 10 tonnes of illicit tobacco into Australia which represents an estimated $10 million in duty evaded

Following further enquiries, and positive reactions from the tobacco detector dogs, ABF investigators from the Tobacco Strike Team conducted a warrant activity at both facilities on 22 May.

The ABF investigators discovered around 8-9 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco, empty cigarette tubes and several tonnes of dried plant matter.

The ABF uncovered more evidence of manufacturing operation including 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco at a residential property following further investigations on 23 May. 

The ABF also executed a search warrant for two commercial properties where 5,000 filled cigarettes were seized.

The Australia Border Force uncovered evidence of manufacturing operation including 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco at a residential property

The Australia Border Force uncovered evidence of manufacturing operation including 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco at a residential property

The Australia Border Force uncovered evidence of manufacturing operation including 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco at a residential property

The Australian Border Force arrested a 43 year-old-man when he returned to the storage facility at Ravenhall in a van, allegedly carrying a further 800 kilograms of tobacco

The Australian Border Force arrested a 43 year-old-man when he returned to the storage facility at Ravenhall in a van, allegedly carrying a further 800 kilograms of tobacco

The Australian Border Force arrested a 43 year-old-man when he returned to the storage facility at Ravenhall in a van, allegedly carrying a further 800 kilograms of tobacco

Australian Border Force  uncovered 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco and 5,000 filled cigarettes

Australian Border Force  uncovered 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco and 5,000 filled cigarettes

Australian Border Force  uncovered 250 kilograms of loose leaf tobacco and 5,000 filled cigarettes

With the soaring cigarette prices that was enforced in September last year, has been leading people to purchase illegal tobacco. The price of 30 Winfield Blues jumped $2.70, from $32.50 to $35.20.

Smokers will be burnt again next on September 1, when they are slugged by the second of four consecutive 12.5 per cent tobacco excise hikes. The tax hike is expected to result in a price increase of about $3 for a typical packet. 

 Spending on health during the 2019-20 financial year is expected to hit $80billion, with 21.25 per cent of that money coming from taxes paid on tobacco.

Federal revenue earned from tobacco products has risen from $5billion in 2001 to a predicted $17billion in 2019, making up 3.6 per cent of total government revenue.

The arrest comes after Treasure Scott Morrison’s announcement that the government will crack down on organised crime groups importing cheap, illegal tobacco. 

Susan Black, ABF Special Investigations Commander, said the operation marks another successful outcome for the ABF Tobacco Strike Team.

‘We expect to see more results like these with the new ABF-led, multi-agency Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, that will enhance our ability to enforce new tobacco laws and disrupt illicit tobacco supply chains,’ Commander Black said.

‘The taskforce will focus on investigating, disrupting, dismantling and prosecuting syndicates that trade in illicit tobacco specifically targeting serious revenue evasion.’

The Australian Border Force investigators discovered around 8-9 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco, empty cigarette tubes and several tonnes of dried plant matter

The Australian Border Force investigators discovered around 8-9 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco, empty cigarette tubes and several tonnes of dried plant matter

The Australian Border Force investigators discovered around 8-9 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco, empty cigarette tubes and several tonnes of dried plant matter

The Australian Border Force has made more than 52,500 detections of illicit tobacco, including 129 tonnes of loose leaf and molasses tobacco and 173 million cigarettes 

The Australian Border Force has made more than 52,500 detections of illicit tobacco, including 129 tonnes of loose leaf and molasses tobacco and 173 million cigarettes 

The Australian B has made more than 52,500 detections of illicit tobacco, including 129 tonnes of loose leaf and molasses tobacco and 173 million cigarettes 

Australia imposes a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded for tobacco smuggling

Australia imposes a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded for tobacco smuggling

Australia imposes a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded for tobacco smuggling

The ABF will lead the taskforce and will draw on expertise and resources across the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commissioner (ACIC), Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Commonwealth Department Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Australia imposes a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded for tobacco smuggling.

The ABF has made more than 52,500 detections of illicit tobacco, including 129 tonnes of loose leaf and molasses tobacco and 173 million cigarettes. From 2017/18 financial year to date (to 31 March 2018). The total duty evaded on these detections is almost $230 million.

 

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