Andrzej Imanski, 39, was driving a lorry stopped by Border Force officers at Dover Eastern Docks in April 2016. Import papers suggested the cargo was boxes of dry pasta, packed within 32 pallets.
Officers discovered around 2.6 million cigarettes boxed and hidden alongside boxes of pasta in 30 of the pallets. The boxes containing the cigarettes were identical to those containing bags of dry pasta.
The estimated excise duty evaded was £645,398. The case was referred to HMRC for investigation.
Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
"Imanski assumed the pasta boxes would hide his illegal cargo of smuggled cigarettes. But they were discovered and he’s now in prison.This is the second such jail term this week for cigarette smuggling in Kent and shows that we continue to work with other enforcement agencies to reduce the availability of illicit tobacco, which costs the UK around £2 billion a year in stolen revenue.
“Don’t let criminals profit by undermining legitimate retailers. Anyone with information about the smuggling or illegal sale of tobacco can report it by calling our 24-hour Hotline on 0800 59 5000."
Imanski was found guilty on 27 October 2016 after a three-day trial at Maidstone Crown Court. He was jailed for three years.