$1.3m of illegal tobacco seized from north coast property
AROUND 1.5 tonnes of illegal tobacco worth $1.3m has been seized and destroyed from a property near Grafton.
On Saturday, ATO officers working as part of the Australian Border Force-led Illicit Tobacco Taskforce attended the property where they located nearly three acres of illegally-grown tobacco.
The operation was conducted with the support from the Australian Border Force and NSW Police.
ATO Assistant Commissioner, Peter Vujanic, said the seizure showed the effectiveness of a cross-agency approach to illegal tobacco.
"By working as part of the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce, the ATO is able to more effectively target the criminal syndicates who seek to profit from the sale of illegal tobacco on the black market," Mr Vujanic said.
"Every crop we seize and destroy burns another hole in the illegal tobacco trade."
Recent estimates from the ATO and the Department of Home Affairs reveal that almost $600 million in tobacco duty was foregone in 2015-16 financial year as a result of the trade in illicit tobacco.
It has been illegal to grow tobacco in Australia for more than a decade, with no licensed tobacco producers growing the crop since 2006.
Since July 2016, the ATO has undertaken 37 seizures totalling 231 tonnes of illicit tobacco with estimated tobacco duty forgone of $194 million.
In the last financial year the ABF also made more than 110,000 detections of illicit tobacco at the border including almost 240 million cigarettes and 217 tonnes of tobacco, worth more than $356 million in evaded duty.