A Chinese family of six has allegedly laundered at least $11 million in organised crime money, and smuggled in millions of cigarettes.
A group of Chinese relatives allegedly laundered at least $11 million of dirty money for organised crime groups, after federal police seized 2.5 million illegally imported cigarettes in Melbourne.
Four men and two women were charged with smuggling tobacco and dealing with the proceeds of crime, police confirmed on Thursday ahead of court appearances for the six, who are all from the same family.
Police and Border Force officers raided a Templestowe home and a Notting Hill warehouse on Monday when they allegedly found $775,000 cash.
The men, aged 21 to 48, have been charged with smuggling tobacco and dealing with the proceeds of crime and face up to 30 years' prison if found guilty.
The women, aged 33 and 44, have been charged with proceeds of crime offences and could be jailed for 20 years.
The cigarettes allegedly arrived in Melbourne and Sydney in four shipping consignments hidden in tiles, AFP Superintendent Krissy Barrett told reporters on Thursday.
The consignments allegedly were all sent to the warehouse, evading $1.75 million in import duties.
The nature of the organised crime with links to the money laundering was not revealed by Supt Barrett, but she confirmed it was at an international level.
"They are a family," she said of those charged.
"There have various links through family.
"These crooks are only working for the money and the power that comes with the money.
"To be able to cut off their ability to quickly move their money and their ability to reinvest and go again in whatever their illegal ventures are, is a huge achievement for us."
It is still to be determined if the six people charged are Australian residents.
"We are still investigating their status," Border Force Commander Susan Black said.
Authorities launched an investigation into the Chinese family in February after identifying an illegal tobacco importation network.
Police will allege they identified the key operators of a syndicate laundering dirty money for Australian-based criminals and worked with Chinese customs and anti-smuggling officials to investigate.
Federal Law Enforcement Minister Angus Taylor said the scale of the alleged smuggling syndicate was significant.
"This operation highlights the significant links between illicit tobacco and organised crime," he said.
"Those who seek to exploit the Australian economy for their own personal gain should be warned the Turnbull government is continuously working to thwart their efforts."
The alleged offenders are expected to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court and police continue to investigate whether others were involved in the operation.