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English Garlic Smugglers Get Six Years in Smelly Bust
Global Post ^ | December 10, 2012 | Faine Greenwood

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 taxes–and 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 taxes—not 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 ginger—and 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 officials—who 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 Hungary—but were caught in the act, partially due to their noticeably pungent get-away vans.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Food; Travel
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/22/2012 10:43:05 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway; Salamander; TheOldLady; null and void; JoeProBono; Slings and Arrows
One smelley bust - just add garlic!


2 posted on 12/22/2012 10:47:57 PM PST by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: shibumi

You’re not paying attention to the instructions.


3 posted on 12/22/2012 10:52:03 PM PST by Alaska Wolf (Carry a Gun, It's a Lighter Burden Than Regret)
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To: nickcarraway

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.


4 posted on 12/22/2012 10:59:50 PM PST by fattigermaster
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To: Alaska Wolf

What?


5 posted on 12/22/2012 11:02:07 PM PST by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: shibumi
What?

You're infatuated with and distracted by her perpetual smile.

6 posted on 12/22/2012 11:17:21 PM PST by Alaska Wolf (Carry a Gun, It's a Lighter Burden Than Regret)
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To: Alaska Wolf

What?


7 posted on 12/22/2012 11:21:49 PM PST by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: shibumi
An investigation was first launched into Natarajan when a somewhat suspicious 7,000 tons of garlic was discovered by customs officials

This has to be a typo--I don't think there's that much garlic on earth. Maybe it's 7,000 pounds?

8 posted on 12/23/2012 12:06:16 AM PST by 4Runner
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To: 4Runner
"This has to be a typo--I don't think there's that much garlic on earth."

Obviously you've never been in my kitchen.
9 posted on 12/23/2012 12:09:13 AM PST by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: nickcarraway

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.


10 posted on 12/23/2012 12:17:08 AM PST by 4Runner
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To: nickcarraway

Six years for smuggling garlic????

Wow, that stinks.


11 posted on 12/23/2012 3:18:38 AM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: shibumi

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...


12 posted on 12/23/2012 3:23:54 AM PST by Jack Hammer
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To: nickcarraway

"Dainbramage.....quit trying to smuggle with me you perv!"


13 posted on 12/23/2012 3:30:08 AM PST by DainBramage
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To: 4Runner

9.5 tons of garlic. the 7,000 pounds was just the tip off.


14 posted on 12/23/2012 3:33:21 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: 4Runner

9.5 tons of garlic. The 7,000 pounds was just the tip off.


15 posted on 12/23/2012 3:33:32 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker

Ten dollars an ounce in taxes? No wonder they tried.


16 posted on 12/23/2012 4:12:13 AM PST by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years. RSC)
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To: KC Burke

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!


17 posted on 12/23/2012 5:44:19 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: shibumi

Ok, so it’s not just me drooling over a food net show hostess...


18 posted on 12/23/2012 6:04:32 AM PST by TalBlack (Evil doesn't have a day job.)
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To: 9YearLurker

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.


19 posted on 12/23/2012 6:55:47 AM PST by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years. RSC)
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To: KC Burke

Ah, you’re correct. That’s an exorbitant import charge or something’s not adding up right.


20 posted on 12/23/2012 7:22:53 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: shibumi

I thought that was Natalie Portman before I read the caption (and saw the bottom of the picture).


21 posted on 12/23/2012 7:34:44 AM PST by TheOldLady
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To: Alaska Wolf

She’s smiling?


22 posted on 12/23/2012 8:00:53 AM PST by null and void (Going Galt: The won't of the people)
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