Melbourne man serves jail time for three-tonne tobacco import

A 38-year-old Australian man has been sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment after attempting to import over three tonnes of loose leaf tobacco into Victoria.

The container was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in August 2018 in a commercial shipping vessel, and was found to contain 136 packages of loose leaf tobacco totalling 3,285kg.

ABF investigators executed search warrants the following month in Campbellfield, Victoria where the man admitted to organising the shipment of illicit tobacco. He pleaded guilty on 26 July 2019 to an offence under section 233BABAD(1) of the Customs Act.

The man was sentenced on Wednesday 16 December 2020, to imprisonment of 2 years and 6 months, with a minimum of 12 months.

Buying and importing illicit tobacco is a serious crime. The penalties for smuggling illicit tobacco can include up to 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.

In addition to offences for importing illicit tobacco, persons who purchase illicit tobacco, in any form, are committing a crime and can face prosecution.

If you suspect any illicit activity in relation to trade in tobacco, you can report information to the ABF’s Border Watch program at:

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