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Point Cook Man Among Arrested in Record $15 Million Vape Seizure in Melbourne

Police Viper Unit
  
   

Police Operation Uncovers Nearly Half a Million Illegal Vapes, Revealing Extensive Organised Crime Network

Victoria Police, in a significant operation involving federal agencies, have conducted the largest-ever seizure of vapes in Australia, removing illicit products valued at over $15 million from the market. The operation centred on a warehouse in West Melbourne, resulting in the capture of nearly 500,000 illegal vapes.

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Assistant Commissioner Martin O’Brien of Victoria Police’s Crime Command provided details about the operation’s impact. “This investigation has resulted in the largest ever seizure of vapes in Australia, with over $15M worth of illicit product removed from the market,” he stated.

The raid occurred on 17 April at a property on Lennon Street after police identified it as a potential hub used by an organised crime syndicate for trafficking illicit tobacco products. The operation led to the arrest of six individuals, including a 37-year-old man from Point Cook. These suspects were interviewed and subsequently released pending further inquiries.

O’Brien elaborated on the broader implications of such criminal activities. “Over the past 12 months in Victoria we have seen the illicit tobacco market become a significant driver of organised crime groups, with an array of serious and violent offending taking place as these groups fight over profit,” he explained. Taskforce Lunar, which was established last October, has collaborated with units like the VIPER Taskforce to target these organised crime groups.

“This most recent seizure is testament to the work being done by Victoria Police in collaboration with Federal agencies including the TGA and ABF. Those partnerships are crucial when it comes to our ability to target and disrupt these organised crime groups and the offending taking place here in Victoria,” added O’Brien.

The investigation has now been taken over by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), indicating the serious health implications of unregulated vape products. This ongoing investigation continues to uncover the depth of criminal involvement in the illicit tobacco trade.

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