Monday, 15 December 2008

Brisbane duo jailed over $27m cocaine bust

A Brisbane judge has jailed two men for importing cocaine with an estimated street value of $27 million into Australia.

The Supreme Court heard 49-year-old Billy Sergio Palemene and 33-year-old Ruben Hurtado were arrested last year after authorities in Brisbane intercepted a package containing more than 16 kilograms of pure cocaine.

Prosecutor Michael Nicholson told the court it was a second attempt for the two men, after a smaller package containing more than 478 grams of pure cocaine was intercepted by US authorities.

The court heard Hurtado was under pressure to clear a large drug debt and had enlisted Palemene's help because of his job with an international courier company.

Justice James Douglas jailed Hurtado for 15 years with a non-parole period of nine years and Palemene for 12 years with a non-parole period of seven.

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