Thirty-six-year-old Mark Clermont and 35 year old Matheiu Horobjowsky—both Canadian citizens—were sentenced on 25 February 2015 for importing 85.5 kilograms of pure cocaine and 192.8 kilograms of methamphetamines inside a road roller.
Clermont was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 20 year non-parole period and Horobjowsky, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 13 years.
The case presented by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) showed the sophisticated nature of the methods used by the offenders to import such a large quantity of narcotics into the country. With an estimated street value of $260 million, this was a very serious drug offence, meticulously investigated by the Australia Federal Police (AFP) over almost 2 years after Clermont and Horobjowsky came to Australia in early 2010. Once here, the offenders set up an importation business as a front for the eventual importation of the drugs.
The methamphetamine and cocaine was concealed in the barrel of the road roller, which arrived in September 2012 from China. Because the road roller was lined with lead, X-ray examination by Customs failed to detect an anomaly. However, further activity by the offenders alerted AFP investigators to their continued interest in the road roller, and arrests followed in November 2012.
CDPP Deputy Director, Scott Bruckard said, ‘Transnational organised crime syndicates continue to target Australia seeking to profit from the distribution of illicit drugs. While the activities of these syndicates are increasingly sophisticated, so too are the law enforcement methodologies deployed to detect and prosecute these crimes. The sentences imposed in this case clearly demonstrate the seriousness—those who are convicted of such crimes face the prospect of very lengthy terms of imprisonment.’
In sentencing Clermont, Acting Judge Garling of the District Court of NSW said, ‘He used and manipulated people for his own use and gain. If it had not been for the persistence of the Australian Federal Police, this drug importation may have succeeded. The Australian Federal Police spent a significant amount of time and effort in intercepting telephone calls, carrying out surveillance and, eventually, in persisting in their efforts to detect the drug and arrest the offenders.’
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Clermont and Horobjowsky was convicted and sentenced in relation to:
- One count of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 11.5 and 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
- One count of conspiracy to deal with money or other property $100,000 or more, contrary to section 11.5 and 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for an offence against 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code is life imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,275,000. The maximum penalty for an offence against s 400.4(1) is imprisonment for 20 years and/or a fine of $204,000.