An Australian man has appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, charged over the alleged importation of illicit tobacco sent to post boxes in Adelaide.
From 11-25 February, more than 70 parcels containing cigarettes were seized by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers. The parcels each contained six cartons of cigarettes and were sent from China to multiple post boxes leased to the man.
On 19 March, ABF officers examined a further three international mail items addressed to the individual.
The parcels, labelled as dust prevention filters, were deconstructed and found to contain 144,000 cigarettes which equates to $116,849 of evaded duty.
On 7 May, ABF officers in South Australia executed warrants in Ridgehaven, Richmond and Mile End. A search of the man’s home address located further cartons of cigarettes, a significant quantity of loose tobacco and a large amount of cash.
The man was subsequently arrested and charged with importing goods with the intention of evading revenue. He faced court on 8 May and was remanded in custody pending a further court appearance.
ABF Commander Investigations, Graeme Grosse said this seizure demonstrates the ABFs capability to detect, investigate and seize any prohibited good that may promote organised crime in Australia.
“Anyone who is involved in any form of tobacco smuggling should expect to be caught and feel the full force of the law.”
“Whether by air, sea or mail, the ABF have highly trained officers to investigate and prosecute the people involved in this activity”.
The maximum penalty for importing tobacco products with intent to defraud the Commonwealth Government of revenue is 10 years imprisonment.
Targeting illicit tobacco importation is an operational priority for the ABF. In addition to operations like this, the ABF is leading the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce that combines the operational, investigative and intelligence capabilities of the ABF, ATO, Department of Home Affairs, ACIC, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).