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Australia Seven men accused of massive methamphetamine importation off Geraldton have their trial aborted

07:40  04 may  2021
07:40  04 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Seven men are on trial in Western Australia's Supreme Court accused of involvement in the importation into Geraldton of 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine , worth an estimated 0 million. Key points: The seven accused men deny the allegations against them. The court heard police caught Those men — Mr Lahood and Mr Harb — are alleged to have had management roles in the operation according to the prosecution and should therefore be liable not only for their own actions but the actions of those specifically importing the drug. Federal police officers intercepted the van in Geraldton .

Eight men have been charged after a record 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine were brought in by boat to the port of Geraldton in West Australia. Police estimate the drugs seized in the operation have a street value of .04 billion. It is the largest meth bust in Australian history, topping a 903-kilogram seizure in Melbourne earlier this year. Based on the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring results released last week, the haul would have been enough to feed the meth appetite of the entire country for two months. The 1.2 tonnes is also larger than the total amount of meth used in the city of Perth in a

a bag of food on a table: The men had been accused of involvement in importing 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine into Australia. (ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch) © Provided by ABC NEWS The men had been accused of involvement in importing 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine into Australia. (ABC News: Nicolas Perpitch)

The trial of seven men accused of involvement in one of Australia's biggest drug importations has been derailed, with the Perth jury discharged this morning.

The decision by Supreme Court Justice Michael Corboy to abort the trial came after days of legal argument in the jury's absence.

The reasons for his decision were suppressed.

The seven men — Jabour Anthony Lahood, Peter Harb, Stephen Baxter, Khalid Kaena, Serupepeli Anthony Rasaubale, Christos Cafcakis and Patrick Leandro Bouhamdan — were alleged to have been behind the importation of 1.2 tonnes of the drug, methylamphetamine, more commonly known as ice, into Geraldton on board a vessel called the Valkoista in December 2017.

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Eight men have been charged after a record 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine were brought in by boat to the port of Geraldton in Western Australia. Key points: A record Australian meth haul — 1.2 tonnes with a street value of .04 billion. Neither of them applied for bail and they were remanded in custody to appear in court on January 17, when their six co- accused are also next scheduled to appear. The offences carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It's the second time in as many years that authorities have intercepted a vessel off the coast of Geraldton with links to drug trafficking.

Seven men face trial in WA's Supreme Court accused of involvement in the importation into Geraldton of 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine in 2017, conservatively valued at 0 million. Posted TueTuesday 30 MarMarch 2021 at 7:21amTueTuesday 30 MarMarch 2021 at 7:21am / Updated TueTuesday 30 MarMarch 2021 at 12:26pmTueTuesday 30 MarMarch 2021 at 12:26pm.

The prosecution alleged the men all played varying roles, with the importation allegedly being overseen from Sydney, by Mr Lahood and Mr Harb.

It is alleged Mr Kaena and Mr Rasaubale were part of the so-called "ground crew", who were going to transport the drugs across the country, while Mr Cafcakis and Mr Bouhamdan, were in the "boat crew" which picked up the drugs in what was called the "Asia boat" in a nighttime mid-ocean rendezvous about 300 nautical miles off Geraldton.

Prosecutors told the court that unbeknownst to the men, they were being watched by authorities, who were secretly recording their movements and had installed a listening device on the boat, which captured the moment the drugs were alleged to have been handed over.

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"All these charges are accusations and I'll be fighting my innocence for these charges. I know there will be a lot of questions that are wanting answers but I've been advised from my legal team that that's all I can talk about." Mafi-Vatuvei aka Manu Vatuvei with lawyer Ron Mansfield outside the Manukau District Court where he appeared on charges of methamphetamine possession. Photo / Leon Menzies. Vatuvei was charged in November 2019 and his case is due to go to trial later this year.

Toni Rajendra Finau, Tevita Sitanilei Kulu and Tevita Matangi Fangupo on trial at the High Court in Auckland. A musician who at one time had a chart-topping hit says he bought steroids and supplements off a man charged with importing methamphetamine . The three have denied charges including importing methamphetamine and cocaine into New Zealand. Kulu's lawyer Steve Bonnar QC told the court in his opening address that Kulu was dealing in steroids and other "bodybuilding substances" but not methamphetamine .

The secret recording was played to the jury — on it an Asian-accented voice could be heard saying "money, money" which prosecutors alleged was a reference to a half torn Hong Kong bank note which both parties used to confirm their identities.

Secretly recorded footage also showed the boat, called the Valkoista, returning to Geraldton where a few hours later, after 59 packages were unloaded from the vessel in around eight minutes, police swooped and arrested the boat and ground crews.

A satellite phone alleged to have been used in the organisation of the importation was seized by police who found it during a search of one of the vehicles that had been hired to transport the drugs.

Mr Baxter was arrested later at a resort in Hillarys in Perth's northern suburbs, where it was alleged he was going to take possession of some of the drugs.

The decision to abort the trial came before the jury heard the evidence of three men, who the court heard were involved in the alleged importation and who would detail what they said happened.

Their identities were suppressed, but the court was told one of them would also testify about another successful drug importation, five months earlier, at which point it was alleged the Valkoista was purchased by some of those involved.

A new trial has been scheduled for October.

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An Italian court convicted two young Americans Wednesday for the murder of a police officer while they were on a summer holiday in Rome, with both handed life sentences. Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, had admitted stabbing Mario Cerciello Rega during a late-night encounter in July 2019, while out with his friend Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20. Prosecutors claimed it was a brutal, unprovoked attack in which Elder, then 19, stabbed Cerciello 11 times with a seven-inch camping knife.The Americans had claimed self-defence, saying they were jumped from behind by men they thought were thugs following an earlier drug deal gone wrong.

usr: 15
This is interesting!