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THE Perth District Court has jailed two men who had been arrested by the AFP as they tried to access a stash of cocaine they expected to find in a package sent from Europe.

The Perth men, now aged 24 and 41, were sentenced on 3 June after being convicted by a jury following a trial in January for their roles in the importation of four kilograms of cocaine sent to Western Australia inside a wooden spool of electrical cable in November 2018.

The men were convicted of one count each of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs.

The 24-year-old man has been ordered to serve four years and three months’ jail before being eligible for parole.

The 41-year-old must serve five years and three months before being eligible for parole.

The AFP launched an investigation after Australian Border Force officers at the Perth Air Cargo Operations examined the package containing the wooden spools. They removed the ends of one spool and found a lead-lined hollow with four wrapped packages inside.

The packages contained a white powder which presumptively tested positive for cocaine.

The matter was referred to the AFP, where forensics experts established the packages contained about four kilograms of cocaine.

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The cocaine was removed and replaced with a harmless substance before it was delivered as addressed to a western suburbs’ café.

Later that afternoon, the younger man collected the package from the café and then drove in convoy with the 41-year-old man to a Balcatta home where the pair opened the package.

Shortly after they smashed open the wooden spool and removed the wrapped packets, AFP officers entered the property and arrested the men.

Police found the packages of substituted powder as well as several items consistent with the supply of border-controlled drugs, including a set of scales, boxes of clip seal bags, a large tray with white powder residue and two containers containing a substance often mixed with drugs to increase the volume for distribution.

ABF Superintendent Clinton Sims said this intercept was just another example of the ABF using a range of technologies to identify concealments in air cargo consignments coming into Australia.

“Our officers are highly trained to detect anomalies and inconsistencies to find concealments, which in this case was cocaine hidden in a wooden spool of electrical cable,” he said.

AFP Leading Senior Constable Dan Arthurs said there was a false perception among some people that cocaine was a safe drug and its use did not harm other people.

“These drugs are supplied by international organised crime syndicates that are prepared to murder people to protect their market share and drug users in Australia are bankrolling these groups,” he said.

“The growing of cocoa leaf, which is used to manufacture cocaine, has been linked to Amazon deforestation and chemicals and pesticides are used to protect the crops.

“The AFP and our partners are working hard to stop illicit drugs from reaching our communities and disrupting anyone involved in the supply chain.”

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