Police arrest two men for illegal cigarette importation

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has arrested and charged two 35-year-old men after seizing an estimated 1500 cartons of illegally-imported cigarettes in Sydney.

The two men came to the AFP’s attention in May 2019 and a subsequent investigation into alleged criminal activity linked them to a premises in Burwood.

Investigators identified three separate international consignments described as containing ‘braided rope’ sent from Hong Kong to the men in Sydney. On each occasion, the shipments were stored at Burwood.

Yesterday (23 June 2019), the AFP arrested the two men after they began removing items from the Burwood premises and placing them in a vehicle.

A search warrant executed at that location resulted in the seizure of 32 boxes of braided rope. Each box contained four spools of rope. Each spool of rope had a cavity containing about 12 cartons of cigarettes. In total, more than 1500 cartons of cigarettes were seized by the AFP.

The men are scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court today charged with the following offences:

  • Importation of tobacco products with intent to defraud revenue contrary to section 233BABAD (1) of the Customs Act 1901; and
  • Possess/convey tobacco products knowing it to be imported with intend to defraud revenue contrary to section 233BABAD (2) of the Customs Act 1901.

The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment, and/or a penalty determined on the amount of duty applied to the goods.

The AFP investigation into this matter remains ongoing.

Arrest footage from this operation is available.

/Public Release. View in full here.