Cocaine smugglers caught with 233kg facing life imprisonment

Federal and state agencies in Australia and overseas have had a major breakthrough in a weeks-long investigation into the smuggling of Cocaine into Australia from Mexico.

As a culmination of the investigation, search warrants were executed on two homes in suburban Sydney on Tuesday which resulted in two arrests and the seizure of a massive 233 kilograms of Cocaine, with a street value of $104.85 million.

The scale of the alleged crime is such that the drugs seized would have served more than 1.1 million drug users.

The investigation that led to the bust only commenced two months ago in September. Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Sydney Container Examination Facility say they targeted a consignment of aluminium alloy ingots that had arrived from Mexico.

The consignment consisted of 18 pallets, each carrying 105 ingots. ABF officers X-rayed the shipment noting anomalies.

A subsequent examination revealed a white powder secreted within the aluminum ingots, presumptive testing gave a positive indication for Cocaine.

Further examination by Australian Federal Police (AFP) forensics revealed 233 kilograms of cocaine concealed within the shipment.

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The concealment of the drugs, inside aluminum ingots, was complex and well-constructed in an attempt to defeat detection by authorities.

A joint agency investigation was commenced, led by the AFP and combining the resources of the ABF and New South Wales Police, State Crime Command Drug and Firearms Squad, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and the New South Wales Crime Commission, with the assistance of international partners U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations .

As a result of extensive investigations, the joint investigation team identified two suspects who police allege were involved attempting to receive the consignment.

On Tuesday, search warrants were executed at houses and on vehicles in the Sydney suburbs of Auburn and Castle Hill. A 61-year-old UK citizen and a 49-year-old Auburn man were arrested as a result.

During the search at Auburn, police seized a small quantity of aluminum ingots, keys to a storage facility allegedly used to take delivery of the shipment, and electronic devices.

The men were schedule to appear before Sydney Central Local Court on Wednesday.

AFP Commander Kirsty Schofield, Manager Organised Crime, said the joint investigation would not have been possible without significant transnational cooperation.

“We are working closer than ever with Mexican authorities, with an AFP liaison officer working in country to ensure we can work at the source to stop the supply offshore,” Commander Schofield said Wednesday.

“Organised crime networks see Australia as an attractive market to target, due to the high demand for drugs in this country. They don’t care about the lives that are impacted through the violent drug supply chain along the way, or the vicious cycle of addiction they are fueling in our communities.”

ABF Commander Enforcement Command, Graeme Grosse, said the ABF and it’s federal, state and international law enforcement partners were awake to the many creative methods drug smugglers attempted to get their illicit cargo across the Australian border.

“We have the intelligence capability and the technology to find sophisticated concealments like this, no matter how professional they look,” Commander Grosse said.

“Through close working relationships with our law enforcement partners both here and overseas, we continue to achieve significant operational outcomes, smashing illicit drug smuggling syndicates and tackling the growing demand for harmful substances such as cocaine in Australia.”

NSW Police Force State Crime Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, said the National Strategy to fight transnational, serious and organised crime provides a framework for law enforcement to work together to combat activities such as drug trafficking.

“The joint operation activity demonstrates the information sharing and high-level of cooperation between law enforcement agencies to disrupt organised crime groups,” he said.

“We will continue to gather intelligence and warn any criminal network considering importing a border controlled drug you face a life sentence.”

The charges the two men face carry a maximum penalty fof life imprisonment.

Drug Addict mistakenly tells Police about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, gets 18 days in Jail

A woman in Spring Grove who called 911 to report carbon monoxide poisoning while high on drugs at home has been remanded in jail. She will spend 18 days, according to the Northwest Herald.

The prosecuting judge at McHenry County, Robert Wilbrandt, who read out Renee A. Hermes’s sentence after a bench trial on Wednesday, said the woman was guilty of possessing more than 8.8 ounces of cocaine in August.

Image: Renee A. Hermes

Renne later admitted in court that she was high on crack at the time she called 911.

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Police arrived her home to check for carbon monoxide leaks and found cocaine on the table instead. More “white powder” was also found in a locker hidden in her basement, prosecutors said.

Wilbrandt, 54, said the convict will observe 2½ years of probation, excluding her jail time. She was ordered to pay an undisclosed amount of money and perform a mandatory 40-hour community service.

Renee’s lawyer, Phil Prossnitz, and court documents say she was exonerated of heavier charges which could have earned her over ten years in prison. She was “mercifully” acquitted of charges on “illegal possession of cocaine with the intent to deliver.”

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14.7 ounces of cocaine was found in Renee’s custody, said Spring Grove Chief of Police Thomas Sanders.

The drug addict was, at that time, taken to a hospital for emergency checks. No symptom of cocaine overdose was found and she was released after five hours. She admitted to being on a four-day binge before the bust.

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According to the Northwest Herald, Renee’s lawyer was grateful to the court for what he called a “fair trial.” His client’s probation terms include “getting a drug addiction evaluation and complying with the recommendations of that evaluation” in order to avoid doing more time in jail.

If found to have violated any of the terms, the convict will spend an extra 140 days in prison.

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The woman’s 59-year-old husband, William K. Hermes, is currently serving a 9-year term for similar offense. He was sentenced in 2016 after testifying that the cocaine in their cabinet was his, despite the contradictory statements offered by both.

Before his apprehension, William was declared “armed and dangerous.” People were warned not to approach him if sighted. He was wanted for manufacturing and delivery of cocaine.

Man drugged his dog and pulled off its ears with tools

A heartless man in Wrexham who fed his dog with cocaine so he could pull off its ears with pliers and scissors, has been arrested.

Man fed his dog cocaine then pulled its ears off with pliers

Image shows the animal abuser Christopher Griffiths.

Christopher Griffiths committed the deliberate act last September on his Staffordshire bull terrier named Victor.

For his cruelty against the animal, Chris has received a 24-week jail sentence, and banned from keeping animals for 10 years. He was also asked to pay a victim surcharge of £80.

The 35-year-old denied all charges against him in the law court but a trial by the RSPCA proved him guilty as charged.

However, Chris claimed the dog attacked him first. In his defense, the pet owner said Victor found out he had cocaine and refused to let him bring it into their home. Then there was a fight and his pet “knocked” him on the ground before he used pliers to remove his ears.

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Image shows the abused dog named Victor.

Glen Murphy [the prosecutor] said officers went to Chris’ home after the “fight” and found a pool of blood at the scene.

Victor was taken to an emergency vet for treatments but he was very quiet and showed no signs of pain, probably due to the effect of cocaine. A test confirmed there was a significant amount of drugs in the dog’s urine.

(Picture: RSPCA)

District judge Gwyn Jones said, according to Metro: ‘It is clear this was a deliberate and planned operation which would have taken some time to exact.

‘No one will ever know how much pain Victor suffered. A considerable amount of force had to be used to cut the cartilage.

‘It is clear that you ignored the obvious pain Victor was in and it was planned because you drugged the dog in advance.

‘The injuries could have easily become infected had it not been for the intervention of the RSPCA and Victor could have come to further harm or even death.’

(Picture: RSPCA)

Image shows RSPCA inspector Kia Thomas with Victor after he was rescued.

Chris had two of his other dogs, Ned and Brandy, taken away and placed at a charity home.

Cocaine Smuggler Caught with a Fake Bulge.

A 43-year-old man was caught at the Spanish airport as he flew in from Costa Rica with a suspicious-looking bulge from his jeans thought to be an endowment at first sight.

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