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400 Tonnes of Tobacco Seized
Over the past two years, the Australian Border Force has seized more than 400 tonnes of illicit tobacco and prevented it from being sold on the black market. In that period, the total duty evaded on the illicit tobacco is estimated at more than $294 million, with more than 100 individuals being charged with tobacco smuggling offences.

This includes the recent arrest of two Chinese nationals following the detection of more than 7.4 million cigarettes at the Sydney Container Examination Facility (CEF). The pair allegedly attempted to conceal the cigarettes within table tops, with the total duty evaded at approximately $5 million. In an unrelated seizure in April this year, a further 31 tonnes of tobacco was found concealed within hessian bags at the Sydney CEF. Further investigations are continuing relating to this seizure.

An ABF representative advised that illicit tobacco can be sold at more than 60 times its offshore price, which seems to be an increasingly attractive market to organised crime syndicates due to the lucrative profits that can be made in evaded tax. Much of these profits are then channelled back into traditional organised crime activities such as the illicit drug trade. Therefore, the ABF will continue to do their duty to target, disrupt and dismantle groups such as these involved in illicit tobacco smuggling.