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15 December 2023, 7:55am
Media Release

WA man jailed over $1.2m cocaine import plot

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

Editor’s note: Images of seized cocaine available via Hightail

A West Australian man has been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment over the importation of 2.87kg of cocaine, worth a potential $1.2 million, hidden in purses sent from the United Kingdom.

The Willagee man, now 31, is the second to be convicted over the drug importation, which was intercepted by Australian Border Force (ABF) in June, 2021.

Following interception, the AFP and ABF launched an investigation into the intended recipients of the cocaine and replaced the illicit drugs with a harmless substance before delivering the package to a Willagee home on 21 June 2021.

The resident opened the consignment and sent images of the contents to a second man, also now 31, who lived in the Perth suburb of Southern River.

Messages retrieved from an encrypted app on the Southern River man’s phone, as well as on other devices seized by police, showed he communicated with other people in the United Kingdom about the importation.

The Willagee man was sentenced last week (8 December, 2023) by the Perth District Court after pleading guilty in January (2023) to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of cocaine, contrary to section 307.5(1), by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of two years’ and two months.

The Southern River man was sentenced in June 2022 after pleading guilty to procuring another person to attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

He was also convicted and sentenced over his involvement in a separate ketamine supply matter.

His sentence for the two matters was later reduced on appeal to a total of eight years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of five years and six months.

AFP Acting Sergeant Kevin Loermans said the AFP worked closely with partner agencies to prevent illicit drugs from reaching Australian streets and to identify anyone involved in drug trafficking.

“This amount of cocaine could have been sold as 2870 street deals,” Acting Sergeant Loermans said. “We are committed to disrupting anyone who tries to profit at the expense of our communities.”

ABF Superintendent James Payne said ABF officers were vigilant to the methods criminals used to try to import illicit drugs into the country.

“Our expertise and sophisticated technology means that we will find the drugs, regardless of the method of concealment these criminals use," Superintendent Payne said.

“The ABF is committed to protecting the community from harmful drugs and working closely with our law enforcement partners to stop the tide of cocaine coming into Australia.”

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
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