Four people have been charged after almost 2 million cigarettes were seized at Brisbane Airport at the weekend.
Australian Border Force officers discovered the shipment, which they alleged were falsely declared as dehumidifiers.
Further investigations into the air freight cargo led officers to a delivery at a storage facility in Brisbane’s south on Sunday, where four adults were arrested.
They were charged with tobacco smuggling offences over the concealment of 1.98 million cigarettes.
Three men and a woman appeared in Cleveland Magistrates Court on Thursday. All four cases were adjourned until November 17 and will be heard again in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
ABF Acting Superintendent Robert Ansell said illicit tobacco could be sold in Australia at more than 60 times its offshore price.
“Illicit tobacco is an increasingly attractive market to organised criminal syndicates due to the lucrative profits that can be made in evaded tax,” Acting Superintendent Ansell said.
“The profits from illicit tobacco sales are often funnelled back into other organised crime activities including the illicit drug trade.”
The ABF has stopped more than 400 tonnes of illicit tobacco from reaching the black market since its establishment in 2015.
The total duty evaded on the illicit tobacco was estimated at more than $294 million.