Over the last few weeks, the officers from Australian Border Force (ABF) have made several seizures of illicit cargo in import shipments arriving into our country from overseas.
1. Cigarette concealment
Over four million cigarettes was recently discovered in a container from Singapore in Sydney. With a tax evasion value of over AUD2.25million, this find by the officers from ABF is huge.
The container was x-rayed, with abnormalities being picked up. The container was then unpacked revealing cartons of undeclared “Modeng” brand cigarettes.
A controlled delivery ensued, with officers taking a individual into custody.
Regional Commander NSW Tim Fitzgerald said the actions taken by officers in identifying, the managed delivery and execution of taking the suspect individual into custody demonstrated the lengths officers go to in ensuring smuggled tobacco or cigarettes products are stopped before they are released into the community.
“This was an attempt to defraud Australian taxpayers of legitimate revenue and the successful outcome sends a clear signal to those considering undertaking this illegal activity,” Regional Commander Fitzgerald said.
If found guilty the individual faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded (that’s AUD11.25million!).
2. Ephedrine Artwork
We remain in Sydney for this seizure, this time ABF making a discovery at Sydney Airport Aircargo Facility.
A shipment of artwork arrived into Australia from overseas, with officers selecting the cartons for a closer examination. The display boxes that contained the artwork, that when deconstructed, held a white crystalline substance within the lining. When tested, the powder indicated a positive for Ephedrine. 18.5kgs was discovered in total.
With ABF officers on high alert for drug importations, Regional Commander for NSW, Tim Fitzgerald said “Primed to act on suspicious consignments and disrupt drug importations through our air cargo facilities, our officers work hard to protect the Australian community. Seizing this ephedrine is an important step in helping decrease the domestic manufacture and supply of illegal drugs.”
The maximum penalty for importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled precursor without a permit, such as ephedrine, is a fine of up to $550,000 and/or 25 years in prison.
3. Drug seizures prior to Queensland Schoolies Week
A number of seemingly inconspicuous items have arrived into Australia over the last few weeks – these included a computer microphones, stereo speakers, plastic bottles and a porcelain horse ornament.
Four separate shipments, originating from China, Hong Kong and the USA have arrived into Australia bound for different addresses in Queensland. A total of 7.7kgs of methamphetamine has been seized.
“We want to also warn criminal gangs and their local accomplices that our diligent ABF officers are on constant alert to attempted illegal drug imports through all Australian Border entry points and they can face lengthy jail terms,” ABF Queensland Regional Commander, Terry Price said.
Importing a commercial quantity of a border control drug contrary to section 307.1 section of Criminal Code Act (1995) carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.