Four Korean nationals faced court charged with importing approximately 2.5 tonnes of cigarettes, with a potential street value of up to $1 million and up to $830,000 duty evaded.
On 7 June 2016, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers targeted 11 pallets containing 100 boxes that arrived from Korea and were inspected by ABF officers. The boxes, labelled as air fresheners contained over 1.5 million sticks of ‘Otto’ brand cigarettes.
The ABF subsequently led an operation code-named Operation Wamble, to investigate the criminal group behind this large scale importation. The cargo containers were delivered to a self-storage unit in Homebush as part of this operation.
The ABF officers arrested the suspects and conducted search warrants on two residential properties linked to the four arrested males.
The men were charged with:
- Convey or possess of tobacco under section 233BABAB of the Customs Act 1901 and;
- Smuggling tobacco under section 233BABAD of the Customs Act 1901.
A/g ABF Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement Craig Palmer said this seizure and yesterday’s arrest is the culmination of a sophisticated and resource-intensive operation where ABF officers have worked tirelessly to ensure those responsible are stopped from causing harm to the Australian public.
“The ABF will actively investigate and work to dismantle tobacco smuggling at the border,” A/g Commander Palmer said.
“This seizure sends a strong message to anyone who thinks they can smuggle cigarettes into Australia – you will be caught and you will face the full force of the law.”