Perth man charged over huge tobacco and cigarette haul

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have charged a 48-year-old Scarborough man after he allegedly attempted to smuggle more than a tonne of molasses tobacco, 810,000 cigarettes and other prohibited products into Western Australia inside a sea container.

The value of the evaded duty on the molasses tobacco and cigarettes is more than $1.84 million, according to a media release posted on ABF website.

Officers at the ABF’s WA Container Examination Facility (CEF) selected the container for closer examination after it arrived from India on 18 February 2019.

Anomalies were identified when the container was x-rayed, with an ABF detector dog subsequently indicating the presence of tobacco, the release said.

It will be alleged that the physical examination of the container revealed the following items behind a ‘cover load’ of food and household products:
1,104 kgs of molasses tobacco 810,000 cigarettes (40,500 packets) 77.58 kgs of chewing tobacco 1,200 Kamini pills, which contain Opium Poppy, and chewing tobacco are both prohibited products in Australia.

On 6 March 2019, ABF officers executed warrants on an Osborne Park business premises and a Scarborough residence.

A number of tobacco products were located and seized at the business, along with documents and electronic devices. Investigations relating to those items are ongoing.

The ABF is also investigating a second container allegedly sent from the same consignor in India to the same consignee in Perth, which was examined at the CEF on 6 March 2019.

It allegedly contained the following (also packed behind a cover load):
1,608 kgs of molasses tobacco
480,000 cigarettes (24,000 packets)
98.2 kgs of chewing tobacco

The amount of duty evaded for that amount of tobacco product is over $2.14 million.*

These seizures will put a significant dent in the supply of illicit tobacco in Western Australia,” Acting Commander Newman said.

The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.

(Media release)