A man has been jailed in relation to more than $4.9 million of fraud and money laundering linked to cigarette smuggling.
Customs arrested the man as part of Operation Odin, in mid-2020, on charges linked to two shipments totalling 4.2 million cigarettes.
At the Auckland District Court today, the 38-year-old man, Hoong Ping Lee, was sentenced to two years and four months' imprisonment.
An accomplice, Qiaoye Wang, 32, was given six months' home detention for fraud in May.
The pair evaded a total of $4,946,605.90 in taxes.
Operation Odin began in July 2020 when Customs intercepted a shipment from Malaysia and found 2.2 million cigarettes were concealed in construction materials.
Three Malaysian nationals and one Chinese national were identified as having roles in the enterprise, which included setting up a shell company, retrieving the smuggled cigarettes, distributing them and then laundering the cash proceeds.
Customs investigators seized about $34,000 in cash and other evidence of cigarette sales during search warrants at their homes in September 2020.
The arrested pair were also later charged with a previous shipment of 2 million cigarettes that were smuggled in a similar manner.
Customs investigations manager Cam Moore said organised criminal groups see large-scale tobacco smuggling and money laundering as a profitable crime but the agency "will take every effort to disrupt illicit cigarette trade".
"We are fully focused on disrupting and dismantling criminal networks in the tobacco black market."
He said criminals "who engage in tobacco smuggling can expect to lose their ill-gotten gains and face serious criminal charges".