Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have seized over four million cigarettes with an estimated tax evasion value of over $2.25million in Sydney last week.

The cigarettes were declared as carpet tiles in an attempt to avoid detection by ABF officers. The container, coming from Singapore, was identified and x-rayed with anomalies immediately noticed before an unpack of the container confirmed officers’ suspicions revealing cartons of undeclared ‘Modeng’ brand cigarettes.

After identification, the container was moved to the delivery address where it was closely monitored by ABF investigators.

Officers took custody of an individual who arrived with a vehicle and trailer before opening the container.

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.

The individual faced court yesterday to be charged under Section 233BABAD of the Customs Act 1901 (smuggle tobacco). 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.