A 28-year-old Taiwanese national has been charged in Perth as part of an investigation into a nationwide cigarette smuggling operation.

ABF officers arrested the man soon after he arrived at a courier depot in the suburb of Welshpool afternoon to pick up three large cardboard boxes.

It is to be alleged the boxes contained 145 cartons of mostly Chinese-made cigarettes. It’ll be further alleged another 32 cartons of cigarettes were found in the spare wheel recess in the boot of the man’s car.

In total that amounts to 35,400 cigarettes that would attract excise duty of about $28,950.

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The man was set to appear in Perth Magistrates Court this week.

The man is currently in Australia on a student dependent visa.

Superintendent of ABF Investigations WA Clint Sims said it would be alleged the man had been purchasing illegally imported cigarettes from a supplier in another state and selling them on the black market in WA.

“Investigations continue into what we believe is a nationwide cigarette smuggling operation,” Superintendent Sims said.

“The ABF is targeting all levels of tobacco smuggling – whether it be by organised crime syndicates, local profiteers or individuals stockpiling personal use supplies.”

The illicit tobacco market in Australia is reported to be worth about $600m a year in evaded revenue.

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