ALMOST 400,000 disposable vapes have been detected by the ABF within one week in Sydney, in what is now the largest seizure of illegal vapes at the border since legislation banning their importation began.

The illicit consignments, held in three sea cargo containers, were discovered at Sydney’s Container Examination Facility from 20-23 May after the ABF x-rayed the containers.

The ABF identified anomalies from the shipments, namely that each consignment had varying declarations of goods, such as clothing items, machinery and furniture.

A total of 389,880 disposable vapes were found across the three containers with an estimated street value of approximately $12.47 million.

Importation of disposable vapes has been banned in Australia since 1 January 2024, when the Australian Government announced the legislative changes, citing their risk to the health of the Australian public. 

ABF acting commander of Trade East, Asha Patwardhan, said the frequency and quantity of vaping products being intercepted by ABF officers demonstrates a blatant disregard by the importers for Australian prohibition against the products.

“The new border regulations have been in force for five months now, and we are certainly beginning to see the attempted concealments which these organised crime syndicates are employing” she said.

Commander Patwardhan continued: “These syndicates use the profits of these illicit activities to fund their other criminal ventures, including illicit drug supply – we must target and disrupt all the streams of their business model by stopping and seizing these vaping products”.

Commander Patwardhan emphasised the industrialised operations of the illegal importations: “We are also seeing a vast range of vaping products now stopped at the border, from vape liquid and accessories in our international mail facilities, right through to container loads of disposable products on an industrial scale”.

The consignments originated from Asia, and investigations into the importation of the goods and their intended destination are currently ongoing.