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Man Jailed Following Multi-Agency Investigation into Cocaine Smuggling by Mexican Drug Cartel

A man has been jailed in Australia following an international, multi-agency investigation into the importation of 188 kilograms of cocaine supplied by a Mexican drug cartel in 2019.

He was sentenced on August 19 to nine years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of five years by the Downing Centre District Court, New South Wales.

Police investigating the 2019 cocaine import observed the man moving hundreds of aluminum ingots and attempting to access the cocaine he believed was hidden inside them.

​​He was already in prison for an unrelated matter when police served him with a court attendance notice in March/April 2021 for his role in importing the cocaine, which had an estimated street value of $47 million.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) estimates this seizure saved the community more than $120 million in drug-related harm, including associated crime, healthcare and loss of productivity.

The man pleaded guilty on April 29, 2022 to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine. He also pleaded guilty to an additional state offense knowingly taking part in the supply of not less than a commercial quantity of pseudoephedrine.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Luke Wilson said disrupting the supply of cocaine inundating our communities was paramount to combating organized crime and reducing the harm to at-risk Australians.

“The high demand for cocaine in Australia is at the forefront of our battle with organized crime syndicates; they see that big dollar sign over Australia and know the profit they can make is substantially more than any other target market,” Det. Act. Supt Wilson said. “Law enforcement cannot win this fight alone. As a community, we need to continue educating each other about the high risks associated with illicit drug use; to reduce the harm, demand and ultimately the profit going back to organized crime.” 

NSW Police Force Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Watson, said police continue to closely monitor cocaine border detections and the drug’s increased recreational use in Australia.

“Like this seizure, forensic drug profiling of cocaine found here in Australia continues to show most originates from Colombia and other areas of South America,” Det Supt Watson said.

“The illicit cultivation of coca bush in these areas significantly impacts upon local indigenous communities and nearly half is carried out in areas with special environmental protection status.

“The reality is that by partaking in both the importation or recreational use of cocaine here and overseas, you are supporting the proliferation of serious crime around the world and the devastation of other people’s lives,” Det Supt Watson said.

ABF Enforcement Operations East Acting Commander, Hany Elbatoory, said the ABF would continue to make it as difficult as possible for criminal syndicates to illegally import illicit drugs such as cocaine into Australia.

“The ABF has significant skills, technological capability and targeting methods when it comes to detecting drugs at the border,” A/g Commander Elbatoory said. 

“Those who choose to be involved in this kind of activity can expect their illicit goods to be detected and stopped at the border, and receive significant criminal penalties for their actions.”

“This o​utcome is a strong example of international cooperation and commitment to disrupting transnational organized crime syndicates,” said U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Ernest A. Verina.

“U.S. Homeland Security Investigations stands shoulder to shoulder with our Australian law enforcement partners to ensure that communities are kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs.”

Read more at the Australian Border Force

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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