A SPANISH man who tried to import cocaine into Perth in an attempt to clear his own drug debt has been jailed.
Daniel Calvo Alba tried to bring about 1.5 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside toiletry bottles through Perth Airport.
The 38-year-old was nabbed in September after travelling to Perth on a flight from Dubai, and officers found the drugs concealed in six bottles for shampoo, hair gel, sunscreen and other lotions.
The cocaine had a purity of 65.9 per cent and if it had been sold in 1g units could have fetched more than $900,000, the West Australian District Court heard on Tuesday.
Alba had a drug debt of more than $31,000 which his dealers said would be cleared if he brought a suitcase to Australia.
Judge Fiona Vernon noted Alba had also been threatened and beaten two months before he committed the crime.
“Obviously you could have reported this to police, but instead you undertook to bring a suitcase to Australia, which you knew contained a significant quantity of illicit drugs,” she said.
“Albeit that you didn’t know precisely which drugs you were transporting and you were doing so to clear or wipe out your debt with your drug dealers.”
Judge Vernon accepted Alba did not package the bottles or arrange his own travel.
She also acknowledged Alba’s role was limited to being a courier, but said he was essential to the success of the criminal enterprise.
The court heard Alba had been on a tourist visa when he came to Australia and had only a minor record in Spain for meth possession.
Alba, who pleaded guilty to importing a border controlled drug, must spend at least four-and-a-half years behind bars before he can be eligible for parole.
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