llicit Tobacco Taskforce Targets International and Domestic Tobacco Smuggling Rings

Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) led by The Australian Border Force (ABF) has disrupted the activities of two alleged organised crime syndicates involved in the importation and distribution of illicit tobacco throughout Victoria and Western Australia.

The first operation occurred when ABF officers from the ITTF executed Customs Act 1901 search and seizure warrants at a number of residential and commercial properties in suburban Melbourne.

The targets allegedly belong to an organised crime syndicate that smuggles illicit molasses tobacco into Melbourne and distributes it throughout Victoria. During the warrants approximately 1,000 kilograms of molasses tobacco was located and seized, along with jewellery and $100,000 in cash, alleged to be the proceeds of crime.

The estimated value of evaded duty for this amount of tobacco is more than $1.5 million dollars.

Additionally, ABF Investigators in Perth intercepted a 45 year-old man when he attended a Kewdale trucking depot to pick up two pallets of illicit cigarettes allegedly sent by a separate smuggling syndicate based in Victoria. Its alleged that 540,000 domestically produced cigarettes containing illegally imported loose-leaf tobacco were located in the van the man was driving.

The estimated value of duty evaded on that amount of cigarettes is $595,944.

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