THE Illicit Tobacco Taskforce arrested a man as he returned to Australia late last year as part of an investigation into an illicit tobacco syndicate. 

The man arrived into Melbourne Airport.

Australian Border Force investigators arrested the man and later charged him with five offences against the Customs Act 1901 for which he faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court where he was bailed to reappear in April.

The man is alleged to be responsible for attempting to import almost 16 tonnes of loose-leaf tobacco and more than 20 million cigarettes during the past two years, with an estimated evaded duty of more than $24m.

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Acting Commander ABF Special Investigations, Leo Lahey said, this arrest was the result of a complex and protracted investigation.

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

People with information about the illicit importation of tobacco should contact Border Watch with details available at the Border Watch website.

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