VIDEO: Massive illicit tobacco seizure in Canberra

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has seized over 285,000 cigarettes, 100 kg of loose-leaf tobacco, and nearly 2,000 vapes in a Canberra raid.

Following investigations, the ABF, working in closely with ACT Policing, executed three search warrants on 29 May at a residence at Narrabundah, and two commercial premises at Holt and Belconnen.

During the searches, 285,000 cigarette sticks were seized, along with almost 2000 vapes, about 100kg of loose-leaf tobacco, 100 nicotine pouches, more than $14,000 cash and other items suspected of being proceeds of crime.

Superintendent Sasha Barclay, ABF Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF), said this operation has disrupted an alleged major supplier within the ACT illicit tobacco market.

“ABF officers across the country are stopping millions of sticks of tobacco at the border every single day. In stopping these shipments at the border, we must also dismantle the business models which are allowing this ‘under the counter’ practice to flourish.

“The illicit tobacco market will continue whilst there is a demand for it – and it’s the criminal syndicates who are exploiting this market to further fund their illicit activities.”

The potential excise value from the number of illegal cigarette sticks and loose leaf tobacco seized equates to about $553,632.

A 44-year-old man was arrested at the Holt business, and subsequently charged with one count of Hinder Commonwealth Public Official under Section 149.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act (Cth). He was granted bail to appear at the ACT Magistrate’s Court on Thursday 27 June 2024.

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