Mohammed Karim, 47, was sentenced for two offences under the Commonwealth Excise Act 1901 for moving and growing over 27,000 kilograms of illegal tobacco with a total excise value of over $1 million.
Mr Karim, 47, was convicted and sentenced to an overall term of imprisonment of 18 months but is to be released after serving six months.
The tobacco was first discovered when Mr Karim and another man were travelling in a hire truck on the Hume Highway, NSW, and were stopped by traffic and highway patrol. Officers discovered the vehicle contained almost 2,000 kilograms of freshly cut tobacco leaves.
Working with NSW Police, ATO officers later discovered a further 25,000 kilograms of tobacco plants growing on a farm leased by Mr Karim in Austral, Western Sydney.
ATO deputy commissioner Will Day said the ATO is committed to taking action against anyone wilfully harming Australians' and Australia’s tax revenue.
“The illegal tobacco trade is harmful to people’s health, harmful to Australia’s tax revenue and those who try to engage in these activities will ultimately face jail time, significant penalties or both,” he said.
“The ATO will continue to act decisively to deal with illegal tobacco growing in Australia. We also work closely with other agencies, including the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Customs, state and federal police, and as part of joint agency taskforce initiatives gathering intelligence and investigating potential links to organised crime.”