More than a million illicit cigarettes found hidden under tea in Melbourne

Updated January 12, 2019 12:14:37

Two men have been charged over an alleged illegal importation of more than one million cigarettes, after police uncovered the tobacco hidden under a thin layer of loose tea.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleged 1.1 million cigarettes were concealed underneath the tea and imported in a series of air cargo consignments falsely labelled ‘Black Tea’ from the United Arab Emirates.

The AFP said Australian Border Force (ABF) officers uncovered the importation, worth more than $10 million in evaded revenue.

Officers intercepted a rental truck near Melbourne Airport on Thursday, which allegedly contained the most recent consignment.

The driver and occupant of the truck were charged with importing and possessing tobacco products with the intent of defrauding revenue.

It is alleged the two used a number of registered business names to import the tobacco to hide their activities.

ABF Acting Commander Special Investigations Colin Drysdale said the discovery would disrupt criminal syndicates’ revenue.

“This seizure and the disruption of this syndicate will have a significant impact on the supply of illicit tobacco supply in Melbourne,” he said.

“Working closely with our Illicit Tobacco Taskforce partners and our state and federal police colleagues we are having a real impact on the $600-million-a-year illicit tobacco market and stopping evaded revenue being funnelled back into the pockets of organised crime syndicates.”

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, crime, melbourne-3000, vic

First posted January 12, 2019 11:31:59

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