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R v Ocampo Alvarez:Columbian Cocaine importer given 22 Year sentence

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

R v Ocampo Alvarez : Columbian Cocaine importer given 22 Year sentence



The Queensland Court of Appeal has upheld a sentence of 22 years imprisonment for Mr Alvarez, a Columbian cocaine importer who pled guilty to his involvement in a complex drug trafficking scheme.



The scheme involved smuggling cocaine into the country from South America by suspending the substance in hydraulic oil, which was being imported in bulk by a South American businessman. The intercepted oil contained 71 KG of cocaine, worth around $12million. Mr Alvarez was set to gain approximately $2 million had the trafficking been successful.



While Mr Alvarez pled guilty to the offence, he nevertheless challenged the sentence, claiming it to be ‘manifestly excessive’. Among Mr Alvarez’s arguments were that he was unaware of the quantity of cocaine being imported, that his involvement in the scheme was merely that of a translator, and that he did not stand to profit from the importation.



However, recorded conversations between Mr Alvarez and other participants in the trafficking made it clear to both the trial judge and Court of Appeal that these contentions were false. Indeed, in one recorded conversation with his wife, Mr Alvarez boasted “with what’s coming, honey, we won’t need to work any more.” Further conversations made it clear that Mr Alvarez stood to profit not only from his role in the importation, but through plans to distribute and sell the cocaine in Australia.



As a result, the Court found no errors of process or decision-making by the trial judge, and Mr Alvarez’s 22 year sentence was upheld.