Thursday, May 23, 2024

Australian Police Seize Millions in Illicit Tobacco and E-cigarettes


Recently, according to c-store sources, Australian police conducted multiple search warrants in 15 residential, commercial, and retail establishments in the Logan, Redlands, and Ipswich areas in southeast Queensland after several months of investigation.

In this operation, over 150 law enforcement personnel were mobilized, resulting in the seizure of over AUD 835,000 in cash, over 8 million cigarette packs, and approximately 3.74 tons of loose tobacco leaves valued at over AUD 14 million. Additionally, 60,000 e-cigarettes valued at around AUD 1.8 million and six vehicles were also confiscated.

These investigations and subsequent seizures have led to a 37-year-old man being charged with 58 counts of criminal offense. The confiscated items, including cigarettes, loose tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc., were so extensive that it required the use of five trucks for transportation.

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) in Queensland has commenced an investigation into a man as part of a money laundering operation. However, during the investigation, evidence has emerged indicating that the man is involved in the distribution and sale of illegal cigarettes and e-cigarette products to retail stores across Queensland.

Bruce Barbour, Chairman of Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), has stated that organized crime infiltrates various industries in order to reap substantial profits from illicit activities.

Over the years, numerous documents have provided substantial evidence of criminal syndicates infiltrating and engaging in other industries. The emergence of evidence of criminal activities in the cigarette and e-cigarette industry is deeply concerning.

This multi-agency response action involves officials from the CCC, Queensland Police Service (QPS), Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Queensland Health Department, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and Australian Border Force (ABF).

Russell Joyce, from the Queensland Police Service’s Major and Organized Crime Investigation Unit, emphasizes the crucial role of interagency collaboration in dismantling suspected criminal syndicates.

A unified investigation can help remove illegal products from the streets and bring suspected criminals to court.

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