Two airline passengers caught smuggling 71 kgs of molasses tobacco

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has seized 71 kgs of molasses tobacco at Avalon Airport after two passengers attempted to smuggle the tobacco inside their baggage. The total revenue evaded was estimated to be more than $85,000.

The passengers arrived on a flight from Kuala Lumpur on 19 August and were selected for further examination by ABF officers.

ABF officers found and seized the undeclared molasses tobacco from inside the luggage of an Australian national and her travelling companion, a female national from New Zealand.

ABF Regional Commander Victoria, Craig Palmer, said this detection at a smaller port demonstrated the vigilance of ABF officers around the country processing travellers arriving into Australia.

“No matter the size or location of the air or sea port, our high skilled officers will find any goods that travellers attempt to smuggle in,” Commander Palmer said.

In the last financial year, the ABF made more than 286,600 detections of illicit tobacco at the border, seizing more than 426.2 million cigarettes and 310.6 tonnes of tobacco, worth more than $668.9 million in evaded duty.

Commander Palmer said that the number of detections of illicit tobacco showed that the message may not still be cutting through with some travellers.

“Tobacco smuggling is illegal. Anyone who might be considering smuggling tobacco across our border to avoid duty should take notice – you will be caught,” Commander Palmer said.

Individuals charged with illicit tobacco offences, face the potential maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling of 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.

Anyone who suspects someone is involved in the smuggling or trade of illicit tobacco should flag it with Border Watch by visiting www.homeaffairs.gov.au/report

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