A MAN has been sentenced to five years in prison for smuggling more than 6m cigarettes into Australia, concealed within sophisticated cover loads, according to an announcement from the Australian Border Force.
The cigarettes originated from Malaysia, with a total alleged duty evasion of more than $4m.
On 10 August 2017, three Malaysian nationals were located in two factories unpacking the tobacco. All three were subsequently arrested and charged under the Customs Act 1901, with possession of tobacco products, knowing that the goods were imported with the intention of defrauding revenue. They were convicted and sentenced to between 16–24 months imprisonment for their involvement in the importations.
On 13 August 2017, the two syndicate organisers were intercepted trying to leave Australia, both were arrested and charged with organising the import of the six million smuggled cigarettes.
One of the organisers pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court, and on 20 February 2019 was sentence to five years in prison with a non-parole period of three years.
Following his release from prison the individual will be removed from Australia.
The second organiser has also pleaded guilty and will face sentencing in April.
In the last financial year, the ABF also made more than 110,000 detections of illicit tobacco at the border including almost 240m cigarettes and 217 tonnes of tobacco, worth more than $356m in evaded duty.