Police have charged two men following an investigation into the alleged theft of more than $7 million worth of cigarettes.
Police said that on September 5, a B-double trailer that contained the cigarettes was allegedly stolen from a transport distribution centre in Altona.
Detectives executed 14 warrants at residential and commercial premises in Altona North, Hoppers Crossing, Laverton North, Niddrie, Roxburgh Park, Sunshine and Williamstown last week, seizing items including 190 packets of prohibited import brands of cigarettes, more than 400 pouches of loose-leaf tobacco and more than 480 cartons of cigarettes.
Police also found nearly $240,000 in cash, a 1.5 kilogram gold ingot, 10 1 kilogram silver ingots, an imitation assault rifle, a .40 calibre firearm magazine, ammunition and 25 vials of steroids.
In addition, vehicles including a tow truck, fork lift and prime mover were seized by police officers, and electronic equipment including mobile phones, computers and hard drives.
A 32-year-old Hoppers Crossing man has been charged with two counts of theft to the value of approximately $7.3 million and failing to provide police with a phone PIN number.
A 33-year-old Sunshine man has been charged with two counts of possessing the proceeds of crime and failing to provide police with a phone PIN number.
Detectives also arrested a further seven males, who were released pending further inquiries.
The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information about criminal activity is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make an anonymous report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au