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Customs smashes major cigarette smuggling operation.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs

Senator for Western Australia

E49/04 22 April 2004

Customs smashes major cigarette smuggling operation

The Australian Customs Service has seized more than four million smuggled cigarettes in Sydney, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, has announced today.

Senator Ellison said Customs assisted by NSW Police executed search warrants at a warehouse in Bankstown early this morning.

“The execution of these warrants followed an inspection of a consignment of goods from Malaysia at the Customs Container Examination Facility (CEF) in Sydney on Monday, 19 April 2004, which resulted in the cigarettes being seized,” he said.

“The goods, described as plastic bags, turned out to actually consist of more than 300 boxes containing nearly 4.3 million cigarette sticks.

“The cigarettes and packaging had no country of manufacture or health warnings.”

Senator Ellison said Customs had estimated that the value of the potential duty and GST the smugglers had attempted to evade was more than $1 million.

He praised the efforts of the Customs and NSW Police officers involved in this morning’s operation.

“I am advised that while no arrests have been made at this stage, investigations are continuing.

“Any attempt to defraud the Commonwealth of legitimate revenue is viewed very seriously by the Australian Government.

“Customs works hard to protect the taxpayer from attempts to evade duty and taxation and I congratulate them on their success in this instance,” Senator Ellison said.

Media Inquiries: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7260/(0439) 300 335

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/justiceministerHome.nsf