Skip to comments.English Garlic Smugglers Get Six Years in Smelly Bust
Posted on 12/22/2012 10:42:57 PM PST by nickcarraway
Garlic smugglers disguised the pungent Chinese bulbs as ginger to avoid paying UK import taxesand received six years in jail for their troubles
Ever thought of making an entry into the lucrative world of...garlic smuggling? That's what hardened garlic-smugglers Murugasan Natarajan, and Lakshmi Suresh decided to do in an effort to make a quick buck or two.
The duo told customs officials that a few thousands pounds of Chinese garlic was ginger, which isn't taxed in the UK, says the BBC.
That mean the canny garlic smugglers managed to dodge a cool $3,218,400 or 2 million pounds in custom taxesnot an insubstantial sum of money for an oft-maligned vegetable.
Read more from GlobalPost: Police arrest five over 9.5 ton garlic heist
Unfortunately for the garlic tricksters, their gambit didn't last long.
Customs inspectors checked the packages and noticed they were optimized to transport garlic, not gingerand the house of cards came crashing down around Natarajan and Suresh, says FreshPlaza, a news website devoted to the fresh produce industry. (I was unaware such a thing existed, too).
Murugasan Natarajan, owner of London-based company Perfect Imports and Exports, was sentenced in his absence to six years in jail, as he skipped bail earlier this year. His 28-year-old assistant, Lakshmi Suresh, was given a 12 month suspended jail sentence and a $16,091 fine (10,000 pounds).
An investigation was first launched into Natarajan when a somewhat suspicious 7,000 tons of garlic was discovered by customs officialswho then noticed that while garlic exports had gone down, ginger exports had gone up exponentially, says the BBC.
Curiously enough, this isn't the only high-profile criminal action involving garlic this year. In June, five Romanians were arrested for attempting to smuggle 9.5 tons of garlic out of Austria and into Hungarybut were caught in the act, partially due to their noticeably pungent get-away vans.
You’re not paying attention to the instructions.
If I had to pay that much tax on garlic I’d be a smuggler too. In my diet live garlic is one of the four food groups.
Since coffee also gets it own food group with me, it doesn’t leave much menu variety. Simplifies shopping, though.
You're infatuated with and distracted by her perpetual smile.
This has to be a typo--I don't think there's that much garlic on earth. Maybe it's 7,000 pounds?
This article doesn’t make sense. Three million dollars in taxes? On seven thousand pounds of garlic? The product would have to sell for $500 per pound just to break even.
Six years for smuggling garlic????
Wow, that stinks.
It’s pretty obvious.
You just take two very large... uh... pots, and then you... uh... get them very, very hot... and... uh... oh, they should be full of water, I guess, and... uh...
"Dainbramage.....quit trying to smuggle with me you perv!"
9.5 tons of garlic. the 7,000 pounds was just the tip off.
9.5 tons of garlic. The 7,000 pounds was just the tip off.
Ten dollars an ounce in taxes? No wonder they tried.
I think it turns out to $1 an ounce—but that still seems absurdly high.
Then again, it may be the level of protectionism that the English need to make their own garlic-culture viable?
If accurate, no wonder it led to smuggling!
Ok, so it’s not just me drooling over a food net show hostess...
I’m still getting about $10.587 per ounce. I have not allowed for Britih Tons.
Even allowing a British ton at 2240 pounds I get 9.45.
Someone needs to help us out for math this early in the day or tax rates on garlic imports in Britian.
Ah, you’re correct. That’s an exorbitant import charge or something’s not adding up right.
I thought that was Natalie Portman before I read the caption (and saw the bottom of the picture).