The Underworld at War
Government tobacco policy has delivered massive profits to illicit providers. Now they are fighting a turf war over the spoils of the illegal industry.
Australian Border Force’s Tobacco Strike Team Founder Rohan Pike says the illicit tobacco trade is a “low risk, high profit” crime as there is “very little enforcement”.
It is estimated that up to 65 per cent of the price of a pack of cigarettes is tax, with packs now being sold for up to $80 each.
“Organised crime gangs are all about the money, and there is no easier way at the moment to make that money than via the illicit tobacco trade.
These gangs can make up to $10 million per container that they get landed on the shore.
Of course, at the retail level, there is very little enforcement happening, so it’s easy for them to get their product to the marketplace.
These organised crime gangs have been present in this market for decades, but only recently there have been other players who have wanted to move into the market, being attracted by the high profits they can make.”