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Olympian tried to smuggle $150m of cocaine

An Australian Olympic kayaker and his brother have been found guilty of attempting to smuggle A$200m ($152m; £109m) of cocaine into the country.

Nathan Baggaley and Dru Baggaley will be sentenced later this month. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Dru and another man were arrested in 2018 after a dramatic police chase at sea that also involved the navy and air force.

Nathan purchased the boat used in the incident.

Dru and the other man, Anthony Draper, made an 11-hour journey in June 2018 to meet up with a foreign ship that was carrying the drugs.

However, they were spotted by surveillance planes and followed by a navy ship. Footage captured Dru throwing packages of cocaine overboard while Draper attempted to get away from the ship.

They were later caught by a Queensland police vessel off the coast and arrested by armed officers.

Dru claims that he thought he was collecting tobacco and not cocaine and said he was kidnapped by Draper and made to go on the voyage. He said Draper threatened his family if he didn’t help him.

However, Draper claimed he was recruited by Dru to drive the boat and alleged he was told they were picking up “smoko” which he assumed was marijuana.

Draper pleaded guilty to importing cocaine earlier this year but his sentence was reduced for testifying against the Baggaley brothers.

Prosecutors say Nathan – a double silver-medallist at the Athens Olympics – was involved in the plan, purchasing the boat and fitting it with a satellite phone and a navigation system.

But he said in court that the boat was purchased with money given to him by Dru and said he was told it would be used to start a whale watching business, ABC News reports.

His fingerprints were also discovered on tape used to conceal the boat’s registration number.

It isn’t the first time the two brothers have been charged with drug offences. They have previously been convicted of involvement in a drug manufacturing group that made hallucinogenic tablets. They were also convicted in 2009 on other drug charges.

According to ABC News, they could both face life in prison.

bbc

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