Over $2 million worth of illegal tobacco seized on Hume Highway

Police have charged three people after seizing nearly $2 million worth of illegal tobacco in three separate incidents along the Hume Highway over the long weekend.

Over 800kg of loose-leaf tobacco and thousands of vapes and cigarettes were seized as the Riverina Traffic and Highway Patrol Command conducted routine vehicle stops on the 8th and 9th of June.

At about 2.15 pm on Saturday (8 June), officers stopped a vehicle along the Hume Highway, Tumblong, for random breath testing, and the 42-year-old male driver returned a negative result.

After speaking with the man, officers conducted a search of the vehicle, where it will be alleged that 2,360 vapes with an estimated street value of $82,600 and 48 cartons of cigarettes worth about $14,400 were located. Also allegedly located in the vehicle was $142,025 in cash.

On Sunday (9 June) at about 11.35am a random breath test was conducted on a 35-year-old woman who was driving along the Hume Highway, Gundagai, who returned a negative result.

A search of the vehicle found that 270,000 cigarettes were allegedly located along with 825kg of loose tobacco leaf with an estimated value of $1,125,000. Police will further allege that a large commercial tobacco leaf hydraulic bailing machine was also located.

At 5:15pm that Sunday afternoon, officers stopped a vehicle along the Hume Highway, Coolac, after an alleged minor traffic offence was detected.

After speaking with the two male occupants a search of the vehicle was undertaken where a large number of cigarettes were located with an estimated value of $615,000. Both men – the driver aged 32 and a male passenger – were arrested and taken to Cootamundra Police Station, when the passenger was later released.

All three accused have been granted conditional bail and will later appear before court.

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