A 33-year-old Melbourne man has been sentenced to three years’ jail, with a non-parole period of two years, for importing almost 1.8 tonnes of tobacco.

The man was sentenced in County Court of Victoria this week (28 June 2017) after being found guilty of:

  • one count of importing goods being tobacco products, with the intention of defrauding the revenue, contrary to section 233BABAD(1) of the Customs Act 1901
  • one count of possess and convey tobacco product contrary to section 233BABABD(2) of the Customs Act 1901.

In April 2016, the Australian Border Force (ABF) commenced an investigation into the activities of a criminal syndicate suspected of importing cigarettes and loose leaf tobacco via air and sea cargo.

On 2 August 2016, ABF Officers detected and seized a significant quantity of loose leaf tobacco concealed within carpet rolls through sea cargo.

On 24 August 2016, ABF investigators conducted multiple search and seizure warrants at several locations in Melbourne.

Superintendent Regional Investigations Victoria/Tasmania Craig Palmer, said that the ABF is successfully disrupting the supply of illicit tobacco and dismantling the criminal syndicates that support it.

“Tobacco is one of the most highly taxed commodities in Australia and because of that, it is attractive to serious and organised crime and is one of the world’s most smuggled illegal goods,” Superintendent Palmer said.

“The ABF is deploying an increasing amount of resources to target those seeking to smuggle tobacco into Australia including expanding our successful Tobacco Strike Team; we are focussed on exposing those organised crime syndicates looking to smuggle illicit tobacco across the border and into the black market.”

People with information about the illicit importation of tobacco should contact Border Watch by going to www.border.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.