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Perth man gets 10 years in prison for $2.7 million drug plots

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Editor’s Note: Footage and photos of the man’s arrest are available via Hightail

A Perth man described as a trusted member of a highly organized transnational drug trafficking syndicate has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for two drug importers.

The 29-year-old man was sentenced by the Western Australia District Court on Thursday (June 30, 2022) after pleading guilty to helping facilitate the importation of cocaine worth about $1.2 million and about $1.5 million worth of cocaine. ketamine.

AFP investigators arrested the man last June (2021) after an investigation began earlier that month when Australian Border Force (ABF) agents found 3.99 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a package of purses shipped from the United Kingdom.

The drugs were removed by the AFP before the packages were delivered to a Willagee home. Another man is said to have opened the packages and sent images of the contents to the 29-year-old, who is from the Southern River suburb of Perth.

Messages retrieved from an encrypted app on the Southern River man’s phone, as well as other devices seized by police, showed that he was communicating with members of the syndicate in the UK and elsewhere in Australia.

The AFP provided information from those messages to WA police officers, who confirmed its involvement in the importation of 4.8 kilograms of ketamine intercepted by ABF in May (2021).

The man organized where to deliver the drug shipments, tracked the packages, and also recruited and coordinated other people to pick up and deliver the drugs after they arrived in Perth from abroad to avoid detection.

AFP Leading Senior Constable Jason Craig said evidence showed the man played an important role in the human trafficking syndicate and was motivated by financial gain.

“Illegal drugs cause tremendous damage in our communities, but the people involved in this trade only care about the money they are trying to make,” he said.

“This case shows that the AFP is working closely with our partners to prevent drugs from reaching our streets and to prosecute those who try to profit at the public’s expense.”

Australian Border Force Commander Operations West, James Copeman, said the ABF would continue to make it as difficult as possible for criminal syndicates to illegally import narcotics into Australia.

“The ABF has significant skills, technological capabilities and investigative methods when it comes to detecting drugs at the border,” said Commander Copeman.

“Those who choose to be involved in this type of activity can expect to have their illicit goods detected and stopped at the border.”

The man, a New Zealand national, was sentenced to seven years in prison, with a four-year non-parole period, for the Commonwealth crime of letting another person try a commercial quantity of an illegally imported border-controlled person. possession of a drug, namely cocaine, in violation of Article 307.5(1) of the 1995 Criminal Code.

He was sentenced to an additional six years in prison, four of which were suspended, for attempted possession of a prohibited drug, namely ketamine, with intent to sell or supply it to another.

The judge ordered the Commonwealth sentence to begin after the man has served three years of his state sentence, minus one day already in custody.

The total effective sentence is 10 years in prison with a non-parole period of six years and 364 days.

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