A Chinese national has been charged after the Australian Border Force busted open an alleged illegal tobacco ring.
A 37-year-old man was arrested after a year-long investigation culminated in a Glen Waverley property being raided in southeast Melbourne earlier in the week.
He was charged with one count of importing with the intent of defrauding the revenue and appeared in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The ABF alleged that thousands of parcels containing illegal tobacco were shipped to a PO Box using a string of fake IDs and fraudulent identities.
The investigation began in February 2020 when the ABF received a tip off about over 16,000 tobacco parcels arriving from China.
When the Glen Waverley property was raided, they allegedly discovered $19,000 in cash, a cash skimming machine, fake passports and drivers licences and machines used to create false identification.
Victorian police also allegedly seized a small quantity of marijuana and weapons.
“This arrest should be a warning to any would-be criminal thinking of engaging in illegal activity,” Acting ABF Commander Nick Walker said.
“The items seized under the warrant are indicative of a range of offences, from identity fraud to financial crime, and the consequences will be severe.”