A 60 year-old Motueka man was sentenced and fined $6,000 at the Auckland District Court today for the unlawful manufacture of tobacco.
Lawrence Reginald Jury was charged with being a party to the unlawful manufacturing of tobacco in breach of the Customs and Excise Act 1996.
In May 2010, a search warrant was executed at Mr Jury’s address in Motueka. Customs officers found and detained 4,790 kilograms of tobacco leaf which, at the time, represented just under $2 million dollars in revenue if the tobacco leaf had been manufactured.
Customs Manager Shane Panettiere says the outcome of this trial is a real achievement for Customs, and the officers who have put their time and effort into the case.
“Our officers have worked tirelessly in putting this case together and their determination and hard work have paid off.
“Mr Jury was providing flue-cured leaf to an individual who he knew was unlawfully manufacturing tobacco; this is a criminal offence. There are rules around manufacturing tobacco and Mr Jury grew, harvested, flue-cured, and sold the tobacco knowing that those rules would not be followed,” says Mr Panettiere
A 64 year-old Wellsford man, Ross Ferguson was also convicted and fined $1,500 for unlawfully manufacturing tobacco along with Mr Jury. Mr Ferguson drove from Wellsford to Motueka and purchased the tobacco from Mr Jury which he loaded onto his trailer returning it to Wellsford where he commenced manufacture.
In 2007, Mr Jury was convicted for the unlawful manufacture of tobacco as a result of a previous Customs investigation.
There are requirements for manufacturing tobacco in New Zealand — the premises must be licensed as a Customs controlled area; the tobacco produced is liable for excise duty; and manufacturers must assist Customs on matters of audit and review.
Section 68A of the Customs and Excise Act allows individuals over 18 years of age to manufacture up to 15 kilograms of tobacco annually exclusively for their own use providing they grow the tobacco at their place of residence.