Perth District Court has jailed two men who were arrested by AFP as they tried to access a supply of cocaine they expected to find in a package sent from Europe.
The Perth men, now 24 and 41, were sentenced on June 3 after being found guilty by a jury following a trial in January for their role in importing four kilograms of cocaine sent to Western Australia inside a wooden reel of electrical cable in November. 2018.
The men were each found guilty of one count of attempted possession of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs.
The 24-year-old was sentenced to four years and three months in prison before being eligible for parole.
The 41-year-old must serve five years and three months before being eligible for parole.
AFP launched an investigation after Australian Border Force officers from Perth Air Cargo Operations examined the package containing the wooden spools. They removed the ends of a coil and found a sealed hollow with four wrapped bundles inside.
The packages contained a white powder presumed positive for cocaine.
The case was forwarded to AFP, where forensic experts established that the packages contained around four kilograms of cocaine.
The cocaine was removed and replaced with a harmless substance before being delivered to the address of a cafe in the western suburbs.
Later that afternoon, the young man picked up the package from the cafe and then drove in a convoy with the 41-year-old to a house in Balcatta where the couple opened the package.
Shortly after breaking the wooden spool and removing the wrapped bundles, AFP officers entered the property and arrested the men.
Police found the surrogate powder packages along with several items consistent with the border controlled drug supply, including a set of scales, boxes of clip-on bags, a large tray containing white powder residue and two containers containing a substance often mixed with drugs to increase the volume of distribution.
ABF Superintendent Clinton Sims said the intercept was just another example of the ABF using a range of technologies to identify concealments in air cargo shipments entering Australia.
“Our officers are highly skilled in detecting anomalies and inconsistencies in order to find cover-ups, which in this case was cocaine hidden in a wooden reel of electrical cable,” he said.
AFP chief agent Dan Arthurs said there was a misperception among some people that cocaine was a safe drug and that its use did not harm others.
“These drugs are supplied by international organized crime syndicates who are prepared to murder people to protect their market share and drug addicts in Australia fund these groups,” he said.
“Cacao leaf cultivation, which is used to make cocaine, has been linked to deforestation in the Amazon and chemicals and pesticides are used to protect the crops.
“AFP and our partners are working hard to prevent illicit drugs from reaching our communities and disrupting anyone involved in the supply chain.”