Cocaine Importation/Joint Commission
On 6 May 2010 the defendants travelled together from Canada to Sydney. On 13 May 2010, HINTENBERGER leased a unit in Darlinghurst. On 28 and 29 May 2010, 2 consignments arrived in Sydney addressed to HINTENBERGER at the Darlinghurst address. The consignments were sent by an audio and video company in Vancouver, Canada, and were described as containing sub-woofer speakers. These consignments were seized by Customs and on examination were found to contain cocaine concealed within the base of the sub-woofer speakers. The cocaine was removed from the consignments and replaced with an inert substance. The speakers and the boxes were then reconstructed for the purpose of a controlled delivery.
Between 1 and 2 June 2010, intercepted telephone calls revealed that HINTENBERGER was calling the consignment company to enquire about the status of the consignments and to arrange delivery to the Darlinghurst address. On 2 June 2010, a Federal Agent purporting to be an employee of the consignment company attended the apartment complex in which HINTENBERGER had rented the unit for the purpose of delivering the consignment. Both defendants took delivery of the consignments and subsequently commenced deconstructing the sub-woofer speakers.
At some stage during the deconstruction process, the defendants discovered that the sub-woofer speakers did not contain cocaine and departed Sydney after evading police surveillance.
On 3 June 2010, a third consignment of sub-woofer speakers which had been packaged and consigned in the same manner as the two previous consignments arrived in Sydney. This consignment was also found to contain cocaine concealed in the base of sub-woofer speakers. However, as the defendants had left Sydney by this time, this consignment was not delivered to them.
Between 2 June 2010 and 2 December 2010, the defendants travelled from Sydney to far north Queensland. During this period, they both used false Mexican passports to receive money transfers from overseas. On 2 December 2010, the defendants were arrested by the AFP attempting to leave Australia from a remote location via a flight to Papua New Guinea.
The total pure weight of the cocaine imported in the 3 consignments was 10.864kg.
The defendants pleaded guilty to 1 count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug pursuant to sections 11.2A(1) (joint commission) and 307.1 of the Criminal Code. Each of the offenders also had the following offences taken into account on sentence:
- knowingly possess false travel documents pursuant to section 22(1) of the Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security) Act 2005; and
- deal with property reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime pursuant to section 400.9 of the Criminal Code.
Both defendants were sentenced to a total effective penalty of 9 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years. The defendants will be eligible for parole in December 2015. But for their early pleas of guilty, both defendants would have received a total sentence of 12 years imprisonment.