Men charged over $7m Vic cigarettes theft

Victoria Police have charged two men and seized cash and weapons over a $7m cigarette theft.
Victoria Police have charged two men and seized cash and weapons over a $7m cigarette theft.

Two men have been charged after a truck trailer with more than $7 million in cigarettes inside was allegedly stolen in Melbourne's southwest earlier this year.

The B-double trailer, which contained the cigarette haul, was stolen from an Altona transport distribution centre on September 5, police say.

Investigators this week raided 14 residential and commercial properties, seizing a tow truck, fork lift and prime mover, a 1.5kg gold ingot and 10 1kg silver ingots, nearly $240,000 in cash, tobacco products, weapons, 25 vials of steroids and electronic equipment.

A 32-year-old Hoppers Crossing man was charged on Tuesday evening with two counts of theft worth about $7.3 million and refusing to give police a phone PIN number.

Another man, a 33-year-old from Sunshine, was also charged with two counts of possessing the proceeds of crime and refusing to give police a phone PIN number.

Both have been bailed to face Melbourne Magistrates Court at later dates, the first man on Friday and the other in September next year.

A further seven men were also arrested in the raids across the city's west and north and released pending further inquiries.

Australian Associated Press