Surf champ jailed for role in huge coke operation
A FORMER surfing champion busted trying to import over half a tonne of cocaine in a failed exchange with Columbian drug runners off the coast of Queensland has been sentenced to 13 years' jail.
Brisbane Supreme Court was today told Sydney boatie Anthony Trevor Draper, 55, was used as a "hired hand" to skipper a boat used in the bungled $195 million drug deal in mid-2018.
The court heard that on July 31, 2018, Draper and his co-accused sailed 350km off the Queensland coast where they met a large Columbian vessel carrying about 20 masked people carrying firearms who threw at least 39 packages in the direction of Draper's boat.
The exchange was witnessed by a navy crew who watched as Draper and his co-accused loaded the packages from the water onto the boat.
The court heard Draper asked his co-accused what was inside the packages before being told to "shut up" and continue helping.
The navy crew confronted the pair who fled 200km across the ocean before being stopped by water police about six hours later, east of Byron Bay.
In sentencing Justice Martin Burns said Draper "foolishly agreed to participate" in the plot after he was offered a "minuscule" $10,000 import the 512kg of cocaine.
Draper claimed he was told the packages were filled with cannabis.
"Even if it was $10,000 that is only a minuscule portion of the potential profits that could have been earned (by another man)," Justice Burns said.
"The estimated value of the cocaine being between $130 million and $195 million."
Justice Burns said it was clear Draper was recruited to drive the boat because he had "particular skills as a fisherman and is someone who has spent most of his life on the water".
"It is sadly the case many such offenders have no criminal history and were probably chosen by those orchestrating such an operation for that reason…in that someone like you would not attract the attention of the authorities," he said.
"That is the case with you, you have no criminal history whatsoever".
The former surf champion pleaded guilty to one charge of attempted drug importation.
Draper was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment and will be eligible for parole after he has served three years and four months behind bars.
Draper has already spent 377 days in custody.