Customs media release
Customs seizes 40 kg of molasses tobacco in Perth raids - Friday, 2nd January 2009
Customs investigators today executed search and seizure warrants in Perth, disrupting a tobacco smuggling ring.
Investigations began on 19 December 2008 when Customs officers at the Fremantle Container Examination Facility selected a container from United Arab Emirates for inspection.
When officers unpacked the container they detected 24 kilograms of undeclared molasses flavoured tobacco.
The tobacco was found in six boxes labelled as tomato paste and randomly distributed throughout the cargo container. Each box contained eight 500 gram satchels of the tobacco.
Customs investigators carried out search and seizure warrants in Malaga, Marangaroo and Mirrabooka where they found another 16 kilograms of flavoured tobacco as well as evidentiary material.
Customs National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said it is believed that this was a brazen attempt to evade paying more than $20,000 in legitimate Commonwealth revenue.
"In addition to the evasion of duty, tobacco that has been illegally imported is unlikely to meet the strict health and hygiene standards of tobacco products legally imported into the country.
"Charges are expected to be laid by summons against those who are responsible for this importation," said Mr Janeczko.
The maximum penalty for this type of offence is 10 years imprisonment and/or $275,000.
For further details contact Customs Media (02) 6275 6793
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