A Gold Coast man arrived home from a short trip to Thailand with suitcases “bulging” with cocaine, a court has heard.
A Gold Coast man arrived home from a short trip to Thailand with suitcases “bulging” with cocaine, a court has heard.

‘Bafflingly stupid’ ploy to smuggle cocaine from Thailand

A Gold Coast man with little criminal history has been jailed for nine years for attempting to smuggle 3.8kg of cocaine into Australia from Thailand, with Border Force agents at Gold Coast Airport having no trouble finding the packages stuffed into his suitcases' lining.

Palm Beach man Michael Alexander Curtis, 36, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday to the Commonwealth charge of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.

His Legal Aid defence counsel, Ed Whitton, told the court it was a "tragedy" Curtis, a nondescript agricultural worker, would be so "bafflingly stupid" as to agree to courier the drugs, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Michael Alexander Curtis, 36, at Gold Coast Airport on March 21 last year. Picture: AFP
Michael Alexander Curtis, 36, at Gold Coast Airport on March 21 last year. Picture: AFP

The court heard Curtis travelled from Brisbane International Airport on March 11 last year to Singapore, then on to Koh Samui and mainland Thailand.

While there, he received a number of encrypted Wickr messages from a person named 'Radman forever', providing him instructions on where to pick up the drugs and offering to book him accommodation.

When Curtis arrived back at Gold Coast Airport about 7.15am, he was carrying three packages of cocaine with a pure weight of 3.79kg in 4.5kg of substance, a purity of about 85 per cent, stuffed in two suitcases, one large and one medium, with the large one contained two packages.

The suitcases both contained "minimal clothing" and were "unusually heavy after the clothing was removed", the court heard.

Michael Alexander Curtis, 36, at Gold Coast Airport on March 21 last year. Picture: AFP
Michael Alexander Curtis, 36, at Gold Coast Airport on March 21 last year. Picture: AFP

Suspicious Border Force agents could see the internal base of the suitcases were "bulging", with "visible glue and tape in place".

While the search was under way, Curtis received more messages from 'Radman' asking him, "See you soon?" and "What's happening?".

Curtis was arrested and charged at the Southport Watchhouse and has spent the intervening period in custody, 390 days.

Mr Whitton said his client had a good work history and his only vice was "use of party drugs in the off-season from his agricultural work", from which gave Curtis his minor criminal history, a single entry of possessing dangerous drugs.

He said Curtis fell back into his partying lifestyle after he was "relieved of all of his life savings overseas", and he returned home "dejected and depressed".

"He agreed to do something which was bafflingly stupid," Mr Whitton said.

"It was almost certain he would be detected.

"The packaging was rudimentary and appeared to be bulging."

Curtis was required to serve at least five years and three months behind bars before being eligible for parole.

 

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Originally published as 'Bafflingly stupid' ploy to smuggle 3.8kg of cocaine from Thailand