12 Jun 2012

Illegal tobacco crop ends in hefty fine

10:26 pm on 12 June 2012

A 60-year-old Motueka man has been convicted and fined $6000 for illegally growing tobacco leaf.

Lawrence Reginald Jury appeared in the Auckland District Court on Monday charged with being a party to the unlawful manufacturing of tobacco.

In 2010, Customs officers searched Jury's address and found 4,790 kilograms of tobacco leaf.

Customs says that would represent almost $2 million in revenue if the tobacco leaf had been manufactured at the time.

Spokesperson Shane Panettiere says Jury was providing flue-cured leaf to a person who he knew was unlawfully manufacturing tobacco.

Ross Ferguson, 64, of Wellsford was convicted and fined $1500 for unlawfully manufacturing tobacco with Jury.