Australia Border Force smashes tobacco smuggling ring

THE Australian Border Force's (ABF) Tobacco Strike Team and the Australian Federal Police led multi-agency Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) has this week dismantled another tobacco smuggling syndicate following an operation in Melbourne.

The Tobacco Strike Team executed search warrants in Bundoora, Campbellfield, Tullamarine and in the Melbourne CBD, seizing 13 million smuggled cigarettes, more than eight tonnes of loose leaf tobacco and $1.7 million in cash.

During this investigation the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce also restrained a motor vehicle worth more than $290,000 and a number of bank accounts containing over $614,000.

Assistant Commissioner Wayne Buchhorn said the ABF has successfully uncovered another significant tobacco smuggling network with nationwide distribution connections.  

"The ABF's Tobacco Strike Team suspects that this syndicate may have evaded up to $45 million in duty and taxes payable on imported tobacco products, in the past 12 months," Assistant Commissioner Buchhorn said. 

"The ABF will continue to work in collaboration with law enforcement partners and industry to disrupt the supply of illicit tobacco and dismantle the criminal syndicates behind it.

"The establishment of the Tobacco Strike Team in October last year demonstrates the ABF's focus on and commitment to reducing illicit tobacco trade in Australia and these results reinforce this."


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