A TONNE-and-half of loose leaf tobacco was discovered in a container from China, the Australian Border Force has revealed.

ABF officers at the Sydney Container Examination Facility inspected the container on 28 February, the goods having been described as “polyester fabric”.

On 20 March, another consignment arrived from China, which contained a further 1.3 tonnes of loose leaf tobacco.

The total duty evaded on these two consignments has been estimated at $3.3m.

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The ABF raided premises in Kingsgrove, Auburn and Westmead on 25 and 26 March, leading to the arrest and subsequent charging of three men.

Another man dubbed “an unlawful non-citizen” was also detained in the operation and is expected to be deported.

ABF Regional Investigations NSW Superintendent John Fleming said investigators had once again been able to disrupt an established and highly organised criminal syndicate.

“This has been the culmination of a 10-month long investigation which has resulted in the arrests of eight people and the detection of five million cigarettes and five tonnes of loose leaf tobacco,” Superintendent Fleming said.

“We will continue do everything we can to stop these syndicates, which are defrauding the Commonwealth of legitimate revenue, and often funnel their profits back into organised crime.”

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