Perth man charged over record haul of 9.5 million illegal cigarettes

Stock image.
Stock image.

A 28-year-old Perth man has been charged after he allegedly attempted to smuggle 9.5 million cigarettes into Western Australia in a sea container.

Border Force said 47,500 cartons of cigarettes manufactured in South East Asia were found in the sea container during an examination in Fremantle on Wednesday.

It is the biggest seizure of illicit tobacco in WA and represents more than $7.66 million in evaded duty.

The man was arrested two days later at one of two residential premises that were searched along with a tobacconist shop in Morley and a storage unit in O’Connor.

A further 31,000 cigarettes were seized.

The man appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court on Saturday and was granted bail to reappear in the same court on Friday.

The investigation continues, and further arrests and charges could be laid, Border Force says.

The illicit tobacco market in Australia is worth about $600 million a year in evaded revenue.

“Illicit tobacco is an international issue, with much of the profits from cigarettes sold illegally in Australia being used to fund other criminal activity both here and overseas,” regional commander for WA Rod O’Donnell said.