Precursor Importation and Supply
On 25 March 2010, NSW Police observed a meeting between the defendant and a woman (Ms U) at a café in Berala. On two occasions, 7 and 16 April 2010, the defendant had recorded conversations in which she agreed to supply 2½-3kg of ephedrine to an undercover operative, Danielle. During the conversations, the defendant indicated that she would arrange for a woman to import the substance from Turkey in shampoo bottles.
On 12 April 2010, the defendant attended a travel agency with Ms U and booked a ticket for Ms U to travel to Turkey. Ms U departed Sydney the following day.
On 24 April 2012 Ms U arrived at Sydney International Airport from Istanbul. Her bags were searched and found to contain a number of shampoo bottles. The bottles contained a substance that tested presumptively positive to ephedrine/pseudoephedrine. Ms U told Customs officers that she bought the shampoo bottles from a supermarket in Istanbul and didn’t in any way meddle with the contents of the bottles. The substance in the bottles was found to contain 312.9g of pure pseudoephedrine.
The defendant was charged with 1 count of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug pursuant to section 25(2) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and 1 count of importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled precursor pursuant to section 307.12(1) of the Criminal Code. The defendant pleaded not guilty to both charges and gave evidence during the trial that all discussions between herself and the undercover operative were in relation to the importation of “diatomic”, something she described as a type of rock.
Prior to the empanelment of the jury, the court heard evidence and oral argument in relation to whether evidence of conversations between the undercover operative and the defendant on 7 and 16 April 2010 should be excluded on the basis that it was illegally obtained. Prior to the undercover operative becoming involved in this matter, the NSW Police obtained a State Controlled Operations Certificate authorising the undercover operative to participate in the supply of ephedrine/pseudoephedrine. The defendant argued that the undercover operative participated in the Commonwealth offence of importation of a drug and therefore a Commonwealth Controlled Operations Certificate should also have been obtained.
The court ruled that the undercover operative did not participate in the importation as it had been arranged prior to her involvement and therefore evidence of recorded conversations on 7 and 16 April 2010 was not illegally obtained. The court also noted that even if the evidence was illegally obtained, it would have been admitted pursuant to s. 138 of the Evidence Act.
The defendant was convicted by a jury of both charges and sentenced to a total effective penalty of 4½ years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years 2 months and 6 days (time served).