Customs media release
Man arrested over tobacco smuggling in mattresses - Wednesday, 6th May 2009
A 50-year-old Belmore man appeared in Sydney Central Court today after being arrested by Customs and Border Protection officers for attempting to smuggle 395,000 cigarettes hidden in mattresses.
The man has been charged under section 233(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1901 for smuggling, and section 233(1(d) of the Customs Act for possessing smuggled cigarettes.
Investigations began on 24 April 2009 when a sea cargo container from China was x-rayed at the Container Examination Facility in Sydney.
The image showed inconsistencies within 25 mattresses which were subsequently selected for closer examination.
It will be alleged that approximately 1,975 cartons were found inside the mattresses containing a total of 395,000 cigarettes.
Customs and Border Protection investigators executed warrants at residential addresses in the Sydney suburbs of Campsie and Belmore on Friday 1 May and arrested the man.
Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, today said the smuggling of tobacco is a serious crime as it defrauds the community of legitimate revenue.
"Smugglers attempt to bring in cigarettes and tobacco that are typically produced in unregulated factories that may not meet hygiene standards and do not contain mandatory health warnings, making the goods a greater risk to the community," Mr Janeczko said.
The man was granted bail and will reappear in the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday 12 May.
The maximum penalty for revenue evasion is five times the amount of duty evaded.
Customs and Border Protection can also lay charges under the Criminal Code Act 1995 which carries a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
For further details contact Customs Communication and Media (02) 6275 6793
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