“AUSTRALIAN Border Force officers have charged a 28-year-old Morley (Perth) man after he allegedly attempted to smuggle 9.5m cigarettes into Western Australia in a sea container – the largest such seizure in the state.
The consignment was detected at the ABF’s Fremantle Container Examination Facility on 31 October.
Anomalies were identified when the 40-foot container was x-rayed at the facility, using technology that was upgraded last year to enhance detection capability. An ABF detector dog also gave a reaction indicating the presence of tobacco.
The physical examination of the container revealed an initial layer of boxes of plastic panels, but behind that, officers found the rest of it packed full of boxes of cigarettes manufactured in South East Asia.
The final count was 47,500 cartons of cigarettes, worth more than $7.66m in evaded duty.
On 2 November 2018, ABF officers raided two residential premises and a tobacconist shop in Morley, and a storage unit in O’Connor.
A further 31,000 cigarette sticks were seized at one of the homes as well as numerous documents and electronic devices.
The man was arrested by ABF investigators at one of the homes and charged with one count of Importing Tobacco Products with the Intention of Defrauding the Revenue.
He appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on 3 November and was granted conditional bail to reappear in the same court on 9 November.
The investigation continues and further arrests and charges could be laid.
ABF Regional Commander for WA Rod O’Donnell said the detection would make a significant dent in the supply of illicit tobacco in Western Australia.
“This is by far the biggest illicit cigarette seizure made in WA. Importantly, we’ve been able to prevent the Commonwealth being defrauded of more than $7.66m in legitimate revenue,” Commander O’Donnell said.
“Illicit tobacco is an international issue, with much of the profits from cigarettes sold illegally in Australia being used to fund other criminal activity both here and overseas.
“The ABF is committed to working with our international partners to detect, investigate and disrupt those involved in the illegal tobacco trade – and to stop the profits from these smuggling operations from funding further criminal activity.”
The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.”
Article Credit of Ian Ackerman – The Daily Cargo News – November 6 2018