Man charged after half a tonne of illegal tobacco disguised as tea seized in Melbourne’s southeast

Saturday 9 December 2023 2:28am – 

A man has been charged with serious offences including possessing smuggled goods and intending to defraud revenue, after police seized more than half a tonne of illegal loose-leaf tobacco disguised as tea, cash and approximately 725,000 cigarettes from storage units and properties in Melbourne’s southeast.

The investigation into the alleged importation of illicit tobacco culminated on Wednesday 6 December, when detectives from the Caulfield Divisional Response Unit executed a search warrant at a storage unit on Clarinda Road, Oakleigh South, about 11am.

Further warrants were then executed at apartments on Foundation Boulevard, Burwood East and Caulfield Boulevard, Caulfield North.

During the searches, detectives located and seized 600kg of loose-leaf tobacco in several boxes allegedly made to look like tea leaves, as well as 725,000 cigarettes and more than $94,000.

A 32-year-old man was arrested and has been charged with possess tobacco product with the intent of defrauding revenue, negligently deal with proceeds of crime, knowingly possess smuggled goods, importing border-controlled plants, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report online at