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Man fined over illegal tobacco operation

Published: 8:19PM Monday June 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

A 60-year-old Motueka man has been fined $6000 for illegally manufacturing tobacco.

Lawrence Reginald Jury was charged after Customs searched his property and found 4790kg of tobacco leaf, which would have been worth just under $2 million if the leaf had been manufactured.

Customs manager Shane Panettiere said Jury was providing 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," said Panettiere

A 64-year-old Wellsford man, Ross Ferguson, was also convicted and fined $1500 for unlawfully manufacturing tobacco along with Jury. Ferguson drove from Wellsford to Motueka, where he bought tobacco from Jury before driving back to Wellsford.

Jury was also convicted for the unlawful manufacture of tobacco in 2007.

Tobacco must be manufactured on premises licensed as a Customs controlled area under New Zealand law.