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Illegal tobacco seized

Illegal tobacco seized

Image - ATO Media

$84.3 million in illegal tobacco seized along the NSW and VIC border

The Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF), a multi-agency Taskforce led by the Australian Border Force (ABF), has undertaken a two-day blitz disrupting three illicit tobacco growing operations across regional Victoria and New South Wales, with seizures taking place in Kyalite (NSW), Beverford and Vinifera (VIC).

Officers uncovered over 100 acres of illicit tobacco with a total combined potential excise value of more than $84 million.

On March 3rd, ATO officers and Victoria Police located over 29 acres of the illicit crop at Beverford, seizing and destroying 183 tonnes of illicit tobacco crops and 140kg of processed tobacco bales, estimated at a value of over $36 million.

At Kyalite, 65 acres of the crop was discovered, with over 183 tonnes of the crop destroyed by authorities.

A day later on March 4th, the ATO and Victoria Police attended a property in Vinifera where they located approximately 13 acres of illicit tobacco crops with a potential excise value of $12 million.

Over 60.7 tonnes of illicit tobacco was seized and destroyed.

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ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said this is one of the biggest weeks they've ever had disrupting illicit tobacco growing operations in Australia.

“Tobacco growing operations are not run by small producers or farmers. They are run by organised crime syndicates who deliberately engage in illegal activities to fund their extravagant lifestyles and other criminal activity,” Mr Read said.

“Engaging in the illicit tobacco trade is not a victimless crime. It significantly deprives the community of taxes that are required to fund essential community services such as roads, schools and hospitals.”

ABF Assistant Commissioner South and Enforcement, Phil Brezzo said the ITTF is committed to targeting, disrupting and dismantling the illicit tobacco trade and their associated criminal activities.

“The growing of tobacco in Australia often involves the illegal sourcing of water, which undermines legitimate farmers and Government sustainability measures.”

If you suspect that illegal tobacco is being grown in your community you can confidentially report it online at or by calling 1800 060 062.

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