A 35-year-old delivery driver has been arrested after he was caught smuggling a tobacco shipment hidden inside kids’ toys which was travelling from China to Sydney.
The 350,000 illicit cigarettes and 1,200kg of tobacco was stashed inside children’s playmats and Disney-printed drums that were found by the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The driver was arrested for assisting in the illegal cross-border smuggling operation of tobacco worth more than $1.5million in excise value.
A 35-year-old delivery driver has been arrested after he was caught smuggling tobacco hidden inside kids’ toys from China to Sydney (pictured)
(Pictured) 350,000 illicit cigarettes and 1,200 kg of tobacco stashed in children’s playmats and Disney-printed drums were found by police
Tonnes of the illicit substance was intercepted before it could be sent to fake Sydney addresses including Panania, Picnic Point and Revesby, police allege.
In a police statement, ABF Investigations Commander Graeme Grosse said he believes more tobacco is yet to been found.
‘These cigarettes and tobacco are worth more than $1.5 million in evaded duty, however, we expect that figure to increase as the investigation continues,’ he said.
The delivery driver has been charged with illicit tobacco offences will face Bankstown Local Court in August.
In Australia, the maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years in prison.
The driver also faces paying up to five times the amount of evaded duty.
Police intercepted the shipment which was travelling from China to Sydney (stock image)
Australians are expected to pay $40 for a typical packet of cigarettes by 2020
Cigarettes are expected to cost $40 per packet by 2020 thanks to yearly tax hikes supported by both major political parties.
Smokers have been slugged with five consecutive 12.5 per cent tobacco excise increases since 2013.
There will be three further hikes of that size between now and 2020, with the next set to hit on September 1.
The last Labor government first introduced the massive tax hikes. The policy was matched by Liberal Treasurer Scott Morrison in 2016.
In Budget papers, Mr Morrison’s government claimed ‘one of the most effective ways to discourage smoking is to increase the price of cigarettes.
‘Increases in tobacco excise over the last two decades have contributed to significant declines in the number of people smoking daily.’
But the consumption of cigarettes rose for the first time in more than a decade in the final quarter of 2017, deviating from a long term trend.
News Source DailyMailsNews