Australian Olympic Silver Medalist and Younger Brother to Be Jailed 20 Years for Drug-Smuggling Operation
The brothers were found guilty for traveling hundreds of miles offshore from northern New South Wales and picking up 1,430 pounds of cocaine.
An Olympic medal-winning kayaker and his younger brother will be in prison for more than 20 years after they were found guilty for attempting to smuggle millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Australia, according to reports.
The two-time silver-winning medalist Nathan Baggaley, 45, who won at the 2004 Athens Olympics and his brother both appeared before a Brisbane Supreme Court jury in April, CBS News reported.
They were found guilty for traveling hundreds of miles offshore from northern New South Wales and picking up 1,430 pounds of the drug in July 2018.
Authorities estimate the cost to be the equivalent of 200 million Australian dollars, or $147 million, according to the Associated Press.
The two brothers reportedly began tossing the bags of drugs into the water when they noticed they were being followed by an Australian Navy patrol. They were arrested shortly after and charges were brought against the men a year after the incident occurred.
Lawyers representing the brothers say that the youngest brother, Dru Baggaley, 39, did not know the packages contained cocaine but, instead, believed it was tobacco, while Nathan claimed to know nothing about the drugs or a plan to import them.
Dru was deemed the "principal organizer" of the stint and Nathan was "actively involved," a judge said Tuesday during the sentencing.
The brothers were also previously arrested in November 2007 and jailed in Sydney in 2009 in connection to manufacturing and trafficking a large supply of ecstasy, the New York Times previously reported.
Nathan Baggaley competed in the K-1 and K-2 over 500 meters and is a three-time world champion in the K-1 500 distance, according to Olympic data. He was banned for allegedly taking steroids in 2005 while he was competing as a kayaker.
He will serve 12 years in custody before he is eligible for parole and his brother will be eligible after 16 years, the AP reported.
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