$66,000 Penalty For Convicted Tobacco Smuggler

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22nd October 2008, 01:02pm - Views: 426

$66,000 Penalty for Convicted Tobacco Smuggler

22 October 2008

A Customs investigation has resulted in a 35-year-old Mount Pritchard man being fined a hefty $66,000 for smuggling tobacco, evading Customs duty and making a false declaration to Customs.

Mr Sam Ghareeb was yesterday convicted of all three offences in Downing Centre Local Court.

Customs National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said that the conviction was a significant step in Customs on-going campaign to target and prosecute tobacco smugglers.

"This Customs detection prevented the loss of over $2.9 million in revenue that should have been paid for the benefit of the community," Mr Janeczko said.

Customs investigations began on 28 November 2007 when a shipping container from Indonesia was subjected to an x-ray examination by Customs. The container was declared as containing ground coffee.

Inside Customs officers found 882 cardboard boxes containing manufactured tobacco. The total weight of the tobacco leaf was estimated to be 9680 kg.

Customs investigators executed a search and seizure warrant on Mount Pritchard residence and found documents relating to the importation of the tobacco.

Customs charged Mr Ghareeb with one count of smuggling goods in contravention of S.233(1)(a), one count of evading payment of duty payable in contravention of S.234(1)(a) and one count of making a false declaration in contravention of S.234(1)(d)(iii) of the Customs Act 1901.

Mr Ghareeb was fined the maximum penalty available in the local court of $22,000 for each offence, plus $1000 in costs, and $229 court costs. "Those attempting to defraud the Commonwealth of legitimate revenue should be aware that they will lose their goods as well as be brought before the courts and face significant penalties," Mr Janeczko said.

Media inquiries:
For further details contact Customs Media (02) 6275 6793

You can register in the Customs media room (www.customs.gov.au) to receive email notification of media releases.

SOURCE: Australian Customs

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