Man accused of trying to import 50kg of cocaine refused bail
A COLOMBIAN man accused of conspiring to import 50kg of cocaine into Mackay turned down an offered $250,000 surety before applying for bail.
Juan Pablo Ocampo Alvarez, 28, was denied bail in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday despite having already spent four years in jail waiting for his trial to begin.
Mr Ocampo Alvarez, who is charged with conspiring to traffic a commercial quantity of cocaine and conspiring to import a commercial quantity of cocaine told the court he had turned down an offer of a $250,000 surety from a friend.
"I decided to refuse that amount," Mr Ocampo Alvarez told the court through a Spanish language interpreter.
"Based on the fact I am only a humble person, I am not from a rich family. I do not wish to present myself to the court as a person totally different to who I am."
Crown prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle said the case against Mr Ocampo Alvarez was "exceptionally strong" and based on intercepted phone conversations.
He alleged the conversations included Mr Ocampo Alvarez speaking to co-accused and associates in South America about importing drugs to Australia.
Mr Ocampo Alvarez offered to pay a surety of $30,000 that his wife had made through working while he was jailed and said he would wear a tracking bracelet if required. He said he wanted to be bailed to look after his wife because she was struggling with depression.
Mr Guilfoyle said while that was an "honourable" reason to want bail it was not relevant and could not make up for the flight risk Mr Ocampo Alvarez posed.
"In reality his only significant tie to this jurisdiction is his wife," he said.
Justice Jean Dalton said while Mr Ocampo Alvarez had spent a significant period in jail already he was facing a life sentence because of the amount of cocaine he was alleged to have tried to import and traffic.
"I cannot see that the time on remand changes the facts relating to Mr Alvarez's flight risk," she said in refusing his bail application.
Mr Ocampo Alvarez's trial is scheduled to begin on September 29 and is expected to go for three months.