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Container loads of Drugs smuggled under the nose of Customs Police

“Importers are warned to be wary for strange activities using their credentials. One prominent Australian Gifts and Homewares importer, advises having had its company identity fraudulently used by drug smugglers to import at least 6 container loads of contraband (Tobacco, spirits and who knows what other drugs) in just the last 3 months. They even had a fake copy of his company seal made up. The smugglers seem to identify a prominent importer bringing in a lot of containers. They then use its company name and address put a different contact name and phone number, on the Bill of Lading (specifying products similar to what the importer imports) and then despatch one or more full container loads of contraband to Australia. (a container lot is a huge volume, either 32 or 64 cubic meters) When the container arrives the shipping agent unknowingly clears it through customs based on the false packing list and calls the contact number given, to arrange payment for charges and delivery. The smuggler takes this call and pays for the freight charges in advance, then instructs the Shipping agent or the freight delivery company to re-direct the container to a different warehouse address. In most cased the importer doesn’t get to know about it because they use a different shipping agent to the firms usual agent. Also because the criminals prepay the freight and collect the documentation on arrival, no documentation is ever sent to the importer. On occasions where the shipping or freight company later assess other charges, such as demurrage costs and invoices the company, the container has already long disappeared. So please check invoices for container freight and demurrage carefully. You could be paying some of the smugglers costs. Customs police have confirmed apprehending only one of these above 6 containers, which container was abandoned on the wharf, following the tip off to Customs Police by the importer. Customs officers say these instances are common and also confirm that even one small container of tobacco smuggled in avoids more than $1 million dollars of excise tax. Do the Customs police have adequate resources? No, they have only one container X-ray machine in Sydney, and insufficient sniffer dogs. More importantly, does customs law require the shipping company or agent to properly identify the importer? No? Does customs law require specific procedures when a delivery address is changed from the Bill of Lading address for imported goods? No? Well, why the bloody hell not? Why wouldn’t the criminals want to move to this country? They dont have to worry about the border patrol. Amazingly they just ship it in through the mainstream system.”

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