A highly organised criminal network responsible for the attempted importation of illegal drugs potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is headed by an unemployed father-of-three from Calderwood, a court has heard.
Fadi El Jamal, also known as Joe Osman, has been in prison on remand since he was apprehended trying to board a flight at Sydney International Airport last March just hours after learning there was a warrant out for his arrest.
The Mercedes Benz-driving El Jamal, who Australian Federal Police claim has no legitimate form of income and derives all his cash from illegal drug activity, is charged with the alleged importation of 2kgs of cocaine from Guadeloupe and the attempted possession of 5.1kgs of what is alleged to be methamphetamine from Thailand.
Police allege El Jamal was assisted in the later crime by two co-accused – Rhys William Doherty, from Flinders, and Mt Pritchard man Nathan Trent Stanmore.
The AFP’s case against the trio, outlined in documents tendered in Wollongong Local Court, alleges El Jamal deposited almost $30,000 into a NAB bank account, which was then remitted to another bank account in Mexico, three days before a package containing 2kgs of cocaine, addressed to a ‘Christian Dallas’, was intercepted by Australian Border Force.
Officers removed the drugs and forwarded the package onto the AFP, who then used an undercover officer to deliver it to professional offices in North Sydney at the direction of ‘Christian’, who police allege was El Jamal.
Police allegedly secretly recorded Stanmore picking up the parcel a few days later.
Meantime, El Jamal allegedly sent another $34,000 to Mexico on February 24.
On March 17, Thai police seized 5.1kgs of what is alleged to be methamphetamine hidden inside boxes of water filters and shower heads bound for Australia.
Police allege a contact phone number associated with the consignment belongs to El Jamal.
Court documents say Thai police removed the drugs and on-sent the boxes to the AFP.
Meantime, police allegedly recorded El Jamal using another fake name to liaise with the freighting company that was to deliver the boxes.
An AFP officer, posing as a courier, delivered the packages to the offices of an international business administration company in Sydney on the morning of March 30.
Doherty and Stanmore are allegedly recorded picking up the boxes a short time later, then contacting El Jamal to confirm the acquisition.
The pair drove in separate cars to the Albion Park Hotel, where they met El Jamal for lunch.
Police allegedly tracked the trio’s movements for the rest of the day, eventually ending up at the Wollongong Novotel, where Stanmore was seen to retrieve something from the back of his car and take it inside the hotel.
Officers arrested Stanmore inside his hotel room just after midnight on March 31 and seized the consignment boxes.
El Jamal’s house was raided just before 6am, however he wans’t home. They spoke with him on the phone at 9am, advising him that if he didn’t attend police headquarters in Sydney immediately a warrant would be issued for him.
When apprehended at the aiport that afternoon, El Jamal was allegedly in possession of a business class ticket to Singapore in the name of Joe Osman.
Doherty was arrested on April 6.
All three men were refused bail, however Doherty has since been released on a surety of more than $600,000.
Meantime, the court case against the trio has been dogged by repeated delays largely due to problems with Thai authorities.
In a statement tendered in court, AFP Detective Sergeant Mark Webster said it was confirmed by Thai police during his recent trip to the country that they had arrested a Thai citizen in connection with the alleged methamphetamine seizure and he was due to be prosecuted later this month.
He said the AFP would not be given access to a sample of the seized substance for testing until after the Thai national’s trial had concluded, however confirmed tests by Thai authorities had determined the presence of methamphetamine.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart has adjourned all three cases to September 7 for further mention.