Cousins friend 'part of drug (MDMA) conspiracy'

By Terrapinzflyer · Nov 4, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Cousins friend 'part of drug conspiracy'

    A long-time friend of AFL star Ben Cousins conspired with another man to traffic 45kg of MDMA or ecstasy, a Perth court has heard.

    Fabian Quaid, 33, a former Olympic athlete and mate of Cousins, is on trial in the West Australian Supreme Court, charged with conspiring with others to take possession of MDMA powder after it arrived in WA on a cargo ship last year.

    Dimitrios Papadimitriou, 39, of Queensland, is also on trial for the conspiracy.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charge.

    In her opening address to the jury, prosecutor Gillian Braddock showed the court a series of videos and photographs taken during a covert police investigation last year.

    Ms Braddock said a video, filmed at Fremantle port on the night of April 16 last year, showed a small boat, with no lights on, moving away from a commercial ship.

    She alleged the boat removed two bags of MDMA powder, weighing 45kg from the cargo ship.

    Ms Braddock said the drugs were uncovered by police during a secret search of a granny flat in Lockridge, in Perth's northeastern suburbs, on May 8.

    Investigators replaced the drugs with a fake substance so they could continue to monitor the house, she said.

    Recorded phone conversations, photographs and video evidence would form the basis of the prosecution's case against Quaid and Papadimitriou, Ms Braddock told the jury.

    Police have alleged both men are members of an international drug syndicate which was the focus of the police operation that led to the bust.

    Ms Braddock said the conspiracy was believed to have started during a meeting between Quaid and another man in July 2007.

    The cargo ship filmed at the Fremantle port was believed to have travelled from a port in the United Kingdom, visiting ports at Mauritius and Sydney before its arrival in WA.

    On Monday, potential jurors were told AFL stars Cousins and Michael Gardiner would be mentioned during the six-week trial, which started on Wednesday.

    Quaid, who was living in Manly in Sydney at the time of his arrest last year, represented Australia in tae kwon do at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

    The trial continues, with the accused's defence team to open their case on Wednesday afternoon.

    November 4, 2009 - 4:59PM

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Ben Cousins' mate Fabian Quaid jailed for $24m ecstasy haul

    ONE of AFL star Ben Cousins' oldest mates has been jailed for 17 years for conspiring to traffic 44kg of ecstasy worth up to $24m.

    Fabian Quaid, 33, of Sydney, must serve 10-and-a-half years before being eligible for parole, after being sentenced by Supreme Court Judge Lindy Jenkins in Perth today.

    The Olympic martial arts hopeful and childhood friend of Cousins was sentenced over the 44kg of MDMA, the key ingredient in making ecstasy.

    In one of Australia's biggest ecstasy busts, the court was told the drugs were 80 per cent pure and enough to produce 350,000 pills.

    Cousins spent time at the luxury Sydney flat of Fabian Quaid after being hospitalised after an alleged cocaine binge in Los Angeles.

    Quaid is also close to Perth bikie gang figures, and was found guilty of the plot in December last year.

    Fellow conspirator Dimitrios Papadimitriou, 42, of Queensland, was also sentenced to 17 years with a minimum parole period of 10 1/2 years.

    Rade Ljuboja, 60, of NSW, who admitted to smuggling 60kg of MDMA into Australia in April 2008, was jailed for 25 years with a minimum 16 years, while his assistant and Victorian man Dejan Medan, 30, was jailed for 14 years with a minimum parole period of 8 and-a-half years for admitting his role in the plot.

    All four men had been facing life sentences for conspiring to traffic a commercial quantity of powdered MDMA - which had an estimated street value of $14 million to $24 million - while Ljuboja had admitted an extra charge of importing a commercially quantity of an illegal substance.

    The court had earlier heard that 60kg of MDMA powder had arrived in Fremantle port aboard a cargo ship from Melbourne on April 17, 2008.

    While about 16kg of the drug later went missing, 44kg was taken to a house in the Perth northern suburb of Lockeridge where police, who had been monitoring the drug-smuggling operation, substituted it with a harmless substance.

    Ljuboja, Papadimitriou and Medan were arrested in Perth on May 5, 2008, while Quaid was arrested in Sydney on May 21 and later extradited to Western Australia.

    In sentencing today, Justice Jenkins said although Quaid had shown no remorse, was “not of good character'' and had little hope of rehabilitation, he had spent the past 10 months in a maximum security wing of WA's toughest jail with no knowledge of why or when he would be allowed to rejoin the regular prison.

    Conditions inside Casuarina Prison's Special Handling Unit - a “jail within a jail'' - were harsh, with Quaid spending 14 hours a day locked in a 4m x 2.5m cell with no access to exercise or other activities.

    Quaid will continue to serve his sentence in the special handling unit, and Justice Jenkins said the fact Quaid had not been told why he was being kept in the cell or when he would be let out meant he would suffer undue hardship during his jail term, which entitled him to a discounted sentence.

    Ljuboja and Medan were given discounted sentences for their early guilty pleas, while Papadimitriou was given credit for his “good character''.

    Quaid, who was described in court as a “money launderer'' and “negotiator for outlaw motorcycle gangs'', shook hands with the other defendants after they were sentenced.

    Medan, a Bosnian War refugee, waved to the public gallery as he was led away.

    Staff and AAP
    From: AAP
    March 23, 2010
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