A man has appeared in Auckland District Court this afternoon, after Customs arrested him today for allegedly attempting to smuggle 2.2 million cigarettes and evade $2.72 million in duty and GST at the New Zealand border.
Customs says it's the largest-ever tobacco seizure at the border in a single shipment.
According to Customs, the 30-year-old Malaysian national faces charges under the Customs & Excise Act for defrauding Customs revenue and making an erroneous import entry. The investigation is ongoing and further charges are likely.
"Intelligence and risk profiling by Customs identified the shipment that was sent from Malaysia and arrived in New Zealand in mid-July 2020," Customs said in a statement.
"The shipment was declared to contain 175 ‘roof extension units’, but a detailed examination by Customs officers found that the stacks of metal frames hid cigarette cartons, comprising 2,208,000 cigarettes.
"The shipment was imported under a registered trading company, of which the man is the sole director. Customs investigators executed search warrants at his home and business addresses this morning, resulting in the arrest and further evidence relating to the offending."
The man was remanded in custody to next appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday, August 5.