Growing tobacco again

| January 24, 2017
tobacco growing Australia photo

Photo by expom2uk

Up to four acres of suspected tobacco plants with an excise value of more than A$1.5 million have been seized from a property at Pentland Hills, about 50 km east of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, according to a story by Olivia Shying for the Ballarat Courier.

The Australian Taxation Officer (ATO) seized the plants following a lengthy investigation.

At the same time, Victoria Police seized a loaded firearm and ammunition.

ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston said the ATO would continue to act decisively in dealing with illegal tobacco growing in Australia.

“Illegally grown tobacco takes money outside Australia’s tax system and into the pockets of criminals,” Cranston said.

“That loss of excise is a loss for the Australian community.”

Growing tobacco in Australia has been illegal since 2006 when the ATO stopped issuing tobacco licenses.

Similar raids were made in New South Wales and Victoria in December and November respectively.

Cranston said the ATO worked with Victoria Police, demonstrating the value of cross-agency collaboration in detecting and dealing with offenders.

“Those that break the law will be brought to account,” he said. “The ATO collaborates with partner agencies to stamp out criminal activity – if you engage in it, you will be caught.”

Cranston said property owners should remain vigilant about what was being grown on nearby properties.

“The community can play a role in reducing the illegal tobacco trade by remaining aware of their surroundings,” he said. “If something looks suspicious, contact the police.”

Category: Breaking News

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