Gang mem­bers jailed for part in £1m cig­a­rette smug­gling

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

GANG mem­bers from Uxbridge, Eal­ing and Har­row who at­tempted to smug­gle cig­a­rettes hid­den in pal­lets of floor un­der­lay to evade £1mil­lion in duty have been jailed.

A to­tal of six men – four from Lon­don and two from Lan­cashire – were caught red-handed by HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms (HMRC) of­fi­cers at a stor­age fa­cil­ity in Dar­wen, Lan­cashire, with more than 3.7 mil­lion il­le­gal Rich­mond, L&M and Brass cig­a­rettes.

In to­tal the gang mem­bers were sen­tenced to 10 years in prison when they ap­peared at Pre­ston Crown Court on Thurs­day Septem­ber 27.

Lukas Adasiewicz, 32, of Abbey Close, in Pin­ner, pleaded guilty to the fraud­u­lent eva­sion of ex­cise duty and was jailed for 22 months.

Lukasz Zwierz, 31, of Court Road, in Uxbridge, and Batosz Duzak, 29, of Hod­der Drive, Perivale, Eal­ing, both pleaded guilty to the fraud­u­lent eva­sion of ex­cise duty and were each sen­tenced to 20 months.

El­lis Varey, 26, of Rib­ble Av­enue, Dar­wen, was found guilty af­ter trial of the fraud­u­lent eva­sion of ex­cise duty and sen­tenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Pawel Szy­man­ski, 33, of Cannhall Road, in Strat­ford, east Lon­don, was sen­tenced to 22 months af­ter plead­ing guilty to the fraud­u­lent eva­sion of ex­cise duty and Chetan Mawji, 36, of Chad­bury Close, Bolton, was sen­tenced to six months af­ter he ad­mit­ted the same charge.

HMRC in­ves­ti­ga­tors found Adasiewicz, Zwierz and Szy­man­ski load­ing laun­dry bags stuffed with cig­a­rettes into a hire van at a Premier Mill in­dus­trial unit, in Be­go­nia Street, Dar­wen, on Jan­uary 16 this year.

Varey and Duzak were found at the back of the unit re­mov­ing boxes of cig­a­rettes hid­den in pal­lets of floor un­der­lay and putting them into more laun­dry bags.

Mawji had been seen ear­lier driv­ing the hire van and was ar­rested shortly af­ter in a su­per­store car park.

Tony Capon, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of the fraud in­ves­ti­ga­tion ser­vice at HMRC, said: “This was a bla­tant at­tempt to smug­gle mil­lions of cig­a­rettes into the UK.

“This gang thought they were be­ing clever by hid­ing il­licit to­bacco within floor­ing packs, but our in­ves­ti­ga­tors were one step ahead.

“We are de­ter­mined to cre­ate a level play­ing for busi­nesses who hon­estly pay their taxes.

“I urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the trade in smug­gled or coun­ter­feit to­bacco to con­tact us on­line or call our Fraud Hot­line on 0800 788 887.”

(Left to rght) Batosz Duzak, Lukasz Zwierz and Lukas Adasiewicz have all been jailed; (below left) some of the cig­a­rettes

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