ABF nabs over 5,000kg of illicit tobacco

On 5 July 2019, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Container Examination Facility in Melbourne inspected a shipping container resulting in the detection and seizure of illicit rough-cut tobacco equating to over $5.69 million in evaded duty.

Originating from Indonesia, the shipping container was labelled to contain items such as green tea, coffee, water, taro tea and coconut chips, however upon examination ABF officers located more than 300 boxes containing illicit tobacco, totalling 5,219kgs.

Acting Regional Commander Vic/Tas Ranjeev Maharaj said ABF Officers have once again been able to detect the concealment method through effective examination capabilities.

“We will continue to do everything we can to stop these illegal importations, which are defrauding the Commonwealth of legitimate revenue, and often funnel profits into organised crime,” Acting Commander Maharaj said.

The illicit tobacco market in Australia is worth about $600 million a year in evaded revenue. Targeting and dismantling this criminal activity is an operational priority for the ABF.

The ABF is leading the multi-agency Illicit Tobacco Taskforce that combines the operational, investigative and intelligence capabilities of the ABF, Australian Taxation Office, Department of Home Affairs, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Anyone with information on the importation of illicit tobacco is encouraged to contact Border Watch at www.Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. This can be done anonymously.

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