ABF busts .4 million vape smuggling plot

ABF busts $12.4 million vape smuggling plot

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The Australian Border Force has stopped $12.4 million worth of vapes from being smuggled into Australia through sea cargo containers.

Almost 400,000 vapes were seized from three shipping containers between Monday and Thursday, after an X-ray scan identified anomalies in the shipping consignments.

A total of 37,800 disposable vape products were found concealed within declared goods on Monday, the ABF said.

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Officers also found a second container container that was carrying 18 palettes of boxes with 174,960 disposable vapes inside.

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A further 177,120 disposable vapes were found on Thursday in a third shipping container.

The total vape haul came to 389,880 with an estimated street value of more than $12.4 million.

All three sea cargo containers came from Asia, the ABF said.

ABF Acting Commander of Trade (East) Asha Patwardhan said the Border Force will continue to stop the illegal import of vapes into the country.

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“The new border regulations have been in force for five months now, and we are certainly beginning to see the attempted concealments which these organised crime syndicates are employing,” Patwardhan said.

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“We are also seeing a vast range of vaping products now stopped at the border, from vape liquid and accessories in our international mail facilities, right through to container loads of disposable products on an industrial scale.

“We know the same groups of people profiting from illicit tobacco are also diversifying into the distribution of vaping products.

“These syndicates use the profits of these illicit activities to fund their other criminal ventures, including illicit drug supply – we must target and disrupt all the streams of their business model by stopping and seizing these vaping products.

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“It is well established that the vast majority of these disposable vapes contain highly addictive nicotine, despite being branded with fun fruity flavours and colourful packaging making it particularly attractive to a younger market and exposing them to unacceptable health risks.

“The ABF will continue its strong proactive enforcement and disruption efforts to put the health and safety of the Australian community first.”

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