No information yet on arrests from surprise tobacco bust

The investigation into a big illicit tobacco crop near Katherine is continuing. Picture: supplied.
The investigation into a big illicit tobacco crop near Katherine is continuing. Picture: supplied.

The investigation continues into the growing of an illegal tobacco crop in Katherine.

Seven hectares of the crop was seized and destroyed by federal authorities several weeks ago.

The Australian Taxation Office, is leading the investigation along with the Australian Border Force and police to form the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce.

The taskforce has not released any information on charges pending from the Katherine bust, any arrests or any local people being questioned as a result of the find.

“The investigation is ongoing,” a spokesman for the ATO said yesterday.

It was the first illicit operation of its type ever uncovered in the Katherine region, and the Northern Territory.

More than seven hectares of illegal tobacco crops and six tonnes of tobacco leaf, with an estimated excise value of $13.3 million, was found growing near Katherine.

The location of the crop still has not been revealed.

The operation found three separate crops of mature tobacco plants, some as high as two metres.

Several shipping containers were found at the property, with one containing drying tobacco leaf, and there was an extensive irrigation system in operation, which has been removed from the site.

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