Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Seventy-one year old man gaoled for smuggling drugs into Australia hidden in suitcase

Date of Publication: 
25 February 2015

A 71-year-old man has been sentenced to twelve years imprisonment with a requirement to serve eight years in custody for illegally smuggling 4177.1 grams of methamphetamine in his suitcase.

On 1 January 2014, US man David Banker arrived at Brisbane International Airport from Nadi, Fiji. In the previous week, Banker had travelled from the United States to India (Mumbai-New Dehli), Hong Kong, Fiji and Australia. On arrival, Banker’s baggage was examined and x-rayed, and Customs Officers observed a thickening around the suitcase rim.

Preliminary testing indicated the presence of methamphetamine. Australian Federal Police (AFP) were notified and continued the investigation. AFP Officers located a black plastic insert, which had been concealed and sealed within the hard plastic rim of the case.

The black plastic insert contained loose white crystalline substance together with two small clipseal bags with the same crystalline substance.

Further analysis of the 5243.4 grams of substance showed it contained 4177.1 grams of methamphetamine—purity ranging between78.7% and 79.7%.

Banker participated in a voluntary interview with AFP on 1 January 2014, after which he was arrested.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) successfully argued through the four-day trial that Banker’s role in this case was as a courier. Banker was sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court on 9 February 2015.

“The sentencing outcome of this matter indicates that whether you’re undertaking illegal drug activities on your own, or to assist others, you’re not going to get off lightly” said CDPP Deputy Director, David Adsett.

“We have prosecuted some of Australia’s biggest drug criminals, so those who think they’ll get away with serious drug offences such as this should think again.” Mr Adsett concluded.

The imported amount of methamphetamine was between 5 and 6 times the commercial quantity, with an estimated wholesale value of between $835,000 and $1.375 million.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Flanagan of the Supreme Court said, ‘It remains the case that you have brought into this country a drug which this court has constantly recognised as being a drug that destroys not only persons, but entire communities. It is a drug that is viewed by this court as an evil, and it has been said by many judges that this particular drug constitutes one of the worst scourges on society today’.

Banker was sentenced on the basis of his role as a courier, and the Judge rejected a defence submission that the quantity of the drug was not important in sentencing couriers.

CDPP Media Contact: communications@cdpp.gov.au or 02 6206 5708

Charges

David Banker was convicted and sentenced in relation to:

  • one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug contrary to s 307.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,275,000.

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