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Fake cocaine bricks bring Colombian brothers undone


Two Colombian brothers expecting to collect millions of dollars worth of cocaine in Queensland were unwittingly given dummy drugs concealing listening devices planted by police.

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The pair were unaware the mic’d up substitutes had been planted after the real drugs were discovered in a shipping container that arrived in Brisbane in January 2018.

Giovani Buitrago Aguilar, 55, and Wilmar Buitrago Aguilar, 52, both pleaded guilty for their role in receiving what they presumed to be 60 bricks of cocaine with a wholesale value of between two and six million dollars.

Australian Border Force officers discovered 99 bricks of drugs concealed in the upper beams of a shipping container transporting shredded rubber from Colombia.

With the decoy drugs in place, two associates of the brothers extracted the planted bricks and organised a delivery of 60 of the packages, the Brisbane Supreme Court was told on Friday.

The remaining 39 were concealed in the wall of a suburban warehouse.

Wilmar and Giovani Buitrago Aguilar had arrived in Brisbane from Sydney and were arrested after they took procession of the packages on January 19, 2018.

While it’s unknown what they planned to do with the drugs, crown prosecutor Ben Power said it was likely they were intermediaries for “some other high level offenders”.

“It appears the most likely scenario (is) that the cocaine was going to be transported from Queensland…most likely interstate,” he said.

The real packages weighed a total of almost exactly 20 kilograms with a purity of 81 per cent, the court was told.

Given the high value of the drugs, the brothers’ role in the operation required an element of trust, Mr Power said.

“It’s not simply a hand off in a car park,” he said.

Wilmar Buitrago Aguilar also had knowledge of a “dummy run” to import a container of “essentially worthless” rubber in the lead up to the real attempt, the court was told.

It was acknowledged there was a degree of separation between the brothers’ involvement, with Wilmar playing a more central role.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with non parole period of six years, while Giovani Buitrago Aguilar was sentenced to eight years with a non-parole period of four years and four months.

Both have served about three years and four months in custody.

Wilmar is an Australian citizen, but Giovani may be deported on release.

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