Alleged cocaine smugglers denied bail
THE man driving the boat which allegedly dumped almost 600kg of cocaine off the coast of northern NSW has been denied bail.
The Southport Magistrates Court was told the drugs have an estimated street value between $100 and $175 million.
Anthony Draper, 54, and co-accused Dru Anthony Baggaley, 36, appeared in court this morning where they face one charge each of possession of commercial quantities of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs or plants.
His co-accused Dru Anthony Baggaley, 36, did not apply for bail during his brief appearance.
It is alleged the pair were spotted about 40 nautical miles off Brunswick Heads in a rigid hull inflatable boat and were seen throwing packages overboard.
Divers retrieved the items which is alleged to be 578kg of cocaine.
During Draper's bail application, Magistrate Donald MacKenzie was shown a photograph of the driver of the boat taken by the Australian Defence Force prior to the raid last week.
"I have looked at the photo and observed Mr Draper and there are strong similarities between the person in the photo and Mr Draper," Magistrate Donald MacKenzie said.
He told the court the statements of facts provided by the Australia Federal Police also showed Draper's identification had also been found in the boat.
Mr MacKenzie said because there was such a large quantity of the drug, if found guilty, Draper could face imprisonment for up to 20 years.
"The most important consideration in this matter is that he is a risk of flight," he said.
Mr MacKenzie said because of the quantity of drugs and the associated prison sentence he could not grant bail.
Defence lawyer Chris Hannay said Draper had no previous criminal history.
He said it would take at least two years before the matter was finally resolved in court.
"There is an amount of product that will have to be tested at some stage down the track," he said.
Mr Hannay said it was not clear if Draper knew what was in the packages which were thrown overboard.
He said Draper had family on the Gold Cost he could stay with if given bail.
Defence lawyer Jason Grant, of Grant Lawyers, asked for Baggaley's bail application to be adjourned for more information to be gathered.
Baggaley's bail application will be heard on August 17.
Draper's matter will next come before the court on August 20