Transnational drug syndicate members jailed

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

Four Melbourne students involved in a transnational drug syndicate have been sentenced to serve prison sentences today (Monday, February 3, 2020), after attempting to import around 12.5 kilograms of cocaine into Australia.

The men, including three Colombian nationals and an Italian national, each pleaded guilty to a number of offences relating to the foiled drug import attempt in 2018.

The men sentenced today will collectively serve more than 26 years behind bars.

It comes after a fifth syndicate member, a 27 year old Colombian male national, was sentenced to 14.5 years imprisonment, with a minimum parole period of ten years, over the same matter in July 2019.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers identified and stopped a suspicious consignment containing just over 5 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a core cooler part imported from Panama to Melbourne in late February, 2018.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigators then identified a second consignment sent from Chile that also contained almost 7.5 kilograms of the illicit drug concealed inside a torque pulley wheel.

Operation Davisson investigators then executed a search warrant at a South Melbourne residential property and arrested the group while seizing more than $35,000 in cash on March 8, 2018.

Investigators believe the men attempted to import the border controlled drug as part of a larger international crime syndicate operating in Colombia, Panama, Chile and Australia.

The men were sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today in relation to the following offences:

A 31 year old Colombian national was sentenced to 9 years 3 months (with a minimum parole period of 6 years and 3 months):

  • Attempt to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug contrary to subsections 11.1(1) and 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Possess a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported contrary to subsection 307.10(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime worth $1,000 or more, contrary to subsection 400.7(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

A 29 year old Colombian national was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months (with a minimum parole period of 5 years and 6 months):

  • Attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug contrary to subsections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Possess a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported contrary to subsection 307.9(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

A 25 year old Italian national was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months (with a minimum parole period of 3 years and 9 months):

  • Attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug contrary to subsections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime worth $1,000 or more, contrary to subsection 400.7(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Possess a controlled drug contrary to subsection 308.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

A 28 year old Colombian national was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months (with a minimum parole period of 2 years and 9 months):

  • Attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug contrary to subsections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

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

Editors Note: Images of the drugs seized available via this Hightail link.

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ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211

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