Police say they have busted a massive cocaine network operating on the NSW South Coast, making one of the largest seizures of cocaine in the state’s history.
Six men were arrested and further arrests are expected to be made today, after the Australian Federal Police and Australia Border Force searched a vessel moored off Jervis Bay locating 1.4 tonnes of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $312 million.
“It’s a major operation and we expect there may be further arrests”, police said.
The bust follows the seizure of 500 kilograms of cocaine at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast in late December 2016, which resulted in the arrest of fifteen men, including eastern suburbs businessman Darren Mohr, former Roosters Rugby League player John Tobin and fishing boss Joseph Pirrello.
As with all of drug importation cases, the DPP will take the matters over from police and serve briefs of evidence in coming months, which will contain the material upon which the prosecution relies to support the allegations against each of the arrested men.
The prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants participated in the importation of a border controlled substance, knowing it was such or being reckless to that fact.
A defendant must be acquitted if the prosecution is unable to establish involvement to the requisite standard.
The maximum penalty for importing a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug is life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $825,000.
The median penalty for those who are convicted is 8 years in prison with a ‘non-parole’ period of 6 years.
The non-parole period is the time an offender must spend in prison before being eligible to apply for release.