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Auckland businessman arrested over $2m smuggling operation

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Photo: AFP

An Auckland businessman has been arrested over a tobacco smuggling operation from Tonga, which Customs says has dodged almost $2 million in taxes.

Officials said the 59-year-old had been charged with defrauding Customs’ revenue and importing prohibited goods.

They said there were two shipments of around half a tonne each, hidden in containers.

The first arrived here last November and was found among frozen cassava, kava powder and taro.

The second arrived just last month and was allegedly hidden amongst food for the man’s business.

Customs said the tobacco was destined for the local Pasifika community and it was urging anyone buying cheap product not to believe claims that it was legal.

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