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Three month ABF investigation brings down tobacco smuggling syndicate

A 32-year-old Sanctuary Point man has become the fifth individual to be arrested as part of an extensive Australian Border Force (ABF) investigation into a tobacco smuggling syndicate in Sydney.

ABF investigators arrested the man at Sydney Airport on Monday, 28 August upon his arrival off a flight from Thailand. They will allege the man is the ring leader of a syndicate who attempted to import illicit cigarettes into Australia back in June.

On 8 June 2017 ABF officers intercepted a container originating from Malaysia declared as boxes of paper cups, however officers will allege the boxes contained more than 4.5 million cigarettes. The container was delivered to an address in Wetherill Park, where five individuals began unpacking the container. ABF investigators arrested three men and a woman, whilst a fourth man was identified as an unlawful non-citizen.

The four individuals who were arrested in June have all been charged with possessing tobacco products knowing that the goods were imported with the intention of defrauding revenue and have been refused bail. They have all appeared before court and have been refused bail, whilst the unlawful non-citizen has now been removed from Australia.

The 32-year-old Sanctuary Point man appeared before court on Tuesday 29 August charged with importing tobacco products with the intention of defrauding revenue and has been refused bail.

ABF Acting Commander Investigations, Garry Low said the ABF has again stopped a significant criminal syndicate from distributing illicit cigarettes within the black market.

“We know these illicit cigarettes would have been sold on the black market without the appropriate taxes which would have cost the Commonwealth millions in potential lost revenue.”

People with information about the illicit importation of tobacco should call Border Watch on 1800 06 1800. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.

All five are due to face Fairfield Local Court on 17 October 2017.

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