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  • ATO rolls illegal tobacco

    4 May 2014

    The Australian Taxation Office, assisted by Australian Federal Police (AFP), this weekend executed warrants resulting in the largest ever seizure of illegal locally grown tobacco.

    The seizure in regional Victoria follows an investigation, supported by the AFP, as part of Operation Garnet.

    The haul includes approximately 350,000 mature tobacco plants with an estimated Excise value of around $15 million.

    Deputy Commissioner Greg Williams said that the action demonstrates the risks people face when engaging in criminal behaviour.

    “It has been illegal to grow tobacco in Australia since 2006.”

    “We’re not just looking at seizing tobacco but also potential links to organised crime when we investigate this kind of illegal behaviour. We’re scrutinising everyone involved in each step of the process,” said Mr Williams.

    “For example, landowners are responsible for knowing what is being grown on their property. Even landowners who have leased their land to growers of an illegal crop may be charged for offences under the Excise Act.

    “Buying illegal tobacco is not just bad for your health, it’s bad for your community. It means lost revenue for infrastructure and services, and that’s bad for everyone.”

    Operation Garnet is an agency initiative of the ATO, undertaken with the assistance of the AFP.

    Last modified: 05 May 2014QC 40561