Two Men Jailed Over 1.28 Tonne Sydney Cocaine Import

Two men have been sentenced to imprisonment for almost two decades each by the Supreme Court of New South Wales for their roles in the importation of 1.28 tonnes of cocaine into Sydney in 2017, the second largest seizure in Australian history at the time.

It comes after a third man was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment in March 2020 for his role in the international criminal enterprise.

AFP-led Operation Amorgos began in April 2017 after a container of prefabricated steel that arrived in Sydney was intercepted by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

An ABF examination of the steel, which had come via China, revealed 2576 individual blocks of cocaine concealed inside, weighing 1.28 tonnes in total.

Further forensic testing revealed the cocaine had a purity of about 78 per cent, with the seizure estimated to have a street value at the time of $500 million.

Following a nine-month investigation that spanned the globe, three Australian nationals were detained by Serbian authorities and extradited to Australia for their roles in the importation.

On 19 April, 2024, a man, 40, who had been residing in Dubai, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 12 years.

On 3 May, 2024, a man, 53, from Murrumbateman, NSW was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 10 years.

In March 2020, a man, 49, from Jier, NSW was sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 19 years and 6 months.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Stephen Dametto said the investigation highlighted the dedicated and innovative work of the officers involved.

“This investigation involved many painstaking hours of work and perseverance to obtain evidence relating to this matter and bring these men before the courts,” he said.

“The importance of ongoing collaboration between the AFP and our law enforcement partners overseas to disrupt criminal ventures cannot be stressed enough. These arrests could not have happened without the help of our Serbian and other international colleagues.

“Australia remains an attractive market for criminals seeking to import drugs, but the AFP is relentless in dismantling the syndicates behind the importations, wherever in the world they may be.”

ABF Acting Assistant Commissioner Claire Rees said it was through the diligence, technical capability and dedication of ABF officers that this significant amount of cocaine was detected.

“ABF officers are committed to disrupting the activities of criminals attempting to import dangerous illicit drugs, and the message is simple, don’t do it because we will stop you,” she said.

“We work closely with our law enforcement partners to keep the Australian community safe, and regardless of the efforts of organised criminals, we will continue to remove harmful drugs off our streets.”

/Public Release. View in full here.