On Wednesday 12 September 2018, Bulgarian nationals Nadezhda Nikolaeva Bratanova (42), Georgi Stanchev Stanchev (48) and Sava Ivanov Kyuldzhiev (40), appeared before the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Stanchev and Kyuldzhiev were each sentenced on 12 September 2018 for their part in the importation of 31 kilograms of methamphetamine into Western Australia in March 2018. Bratanova’s sentence was handed down on Friday 14 September 2018.
- Stanchev, who collected the drugs in Dampier, was sentenced to 13 years and 6 months jail with a non-parole period of 10 years.
- Kyuldzhiev, a chef and crew member on board the Cape Owl, who transported the drugs to Australia, was sentenced to 13 years jail with a non-parole period of 9 years and 6 months.
- Bratanova, who collected the drugs in Dampier, was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months jail with a non-parole period of 7 years and 9 months.
The trio were arrested and charged as part of Operation Penarth-Glenroy, a joint agency investigation that included the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the West Australian Police Force, and Australian Border Force. They were prosecuted by the CDPP.
Bratanova and Stanchev had arrived at Perth International Airport on 21 January 2018. From the time of their arrival, the pair were tracked by authorities as they hired different vehicles and travelled to various destinations in Western Australia’s far north, including Port Dennison, Carnarvon, and Dampier.
On 3 March, while waiting in Dampier, Bratanova made contact with the third accused, Kyuldzhiev, who was at that time aboard a bulk ore carrier, Cape Owl, which had sailed from China. After the vessel anchored at Dampier, Kyuldzhiev alighted having concealed the methamphetamine in multiple bags, as well as an orange life vest he wore when leaving the ship. The three then met at a car park in Dampier about 6.25pm on 12 March. While Bratanova and Kyuldzhiev greeted each other with a hug, Stanchev parked a hired Nissan X-Trail nearby, before the other two walked over and placed the drugs inside the vehicle. Police then moved in and arrested the trio around 6.32pm. A search of the vehicle located 31 kilograms of methamphetamine.
In sentencing the three, Justice Corboy found that whilst they were all intermediaries, each had played a vital role in importing the drugs into Australia. His Honour noted that Stanchev and Bratanova had come to Australia with the sole purpose of importing methamphetamine.
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Summary of charges:
- All three were charged with importing a commercial quantity border controlled drug contrary to section 307.1(1) Criminal Code (Cth).