Cross-border tobacco smuggling ring smashed

An Australian Border Force (ABF) interception at Adelaide International Airport has led to a man being charged in relation to the illegal importation of tobacco.

The man was allegedly involved in an elaborate organised crime syndicate responsible for importing large quantities of illegal tobacco into four Australian states.

On 15 January, the 24-year-old Chinese man, who holds a student visa, came to the attention of ABF officers while attempting to re-enter the country.

The ABF will allege in court that the baggage examination that followed revealed evidence of the man’s involvement in the illegal importation of tobacco.

ABF Regional Commander Central Region Rachel Houghton said the arrest highlighted the ongoing work undertaken by the ABF to combat this sort of illegal activity.

“The ABF takes a serious approach to all revenue evasion attempts and is working tirelessly to stamp out instances where this may occur, ” Regional Commander Houghton said.

On 16 January, ABF officers executed warrants at two premises and a storage unit in Adelaide and seized more than 150 items, including evidence of importing tobacco on an organised scale using multiple names and addresses in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.

Approximately $50,000 cash and a 2015 Mazda 3 were also seized under proceeds of crime laws.

The man faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court yesterday (18 January) charged with importing tobacco products with the intention of defrauding revenue, contrary to the Customs Act 1901. He was remanded to appear before court again on 29 March.

ABF investigations are ongoing and more charges are possible.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

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