Cocaine bust goes to court

Julia Maria Boada Fernandez ducks for cover in a police van as she is brought to court to face cocaine trafficking charges.
Julia Maria Boada Fernandez ducks for cover in a police van as she is brought to court to face cocaine trafficking charges. Scottie Simmonds

THE fate of four Spanish nationals accused of importing 300kg of cocaine in through the Bundaberg Port will not be known for many months, with a police brief not expected until March.

Three of the four alleged drug smugglers - two men and one woman - appeared in the docks of Bundaberg Magistrates Court wearing green prison-issue jumpers during the brief mention of their matter yesterday.

Julia Maria Boada Fernandez, 37, Jose Herrero-Calvo, 38, Ivan Maria Ramos Valea, 35 and Miguel Angel Sanchez Barrocal, 39, are each charged with importing commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs, an offence that attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The four defendants were arrested in November in what is alleged to be the fifth biggest cocaine bust in Australian history.

Lawyer Thomas Bray represents Valea and also appeared on behalf of the other three defendants, who will eventually be represented by other lawyers from Bundaberg and Brisbane.

Mr Bray said his client was the only one in the group who understood English and that he had requested to be present at all mentions of the matter.

"The cost involved in that to the community has to be a factor in all of this," magistrate Jennifer Batts said.

"Given they are all largely represented and given the fairly nominal nature of the mentions at the moment, I would say they are not to be produced."

But Ms Batts said the defendant's legal teams could still request to have their clients appear in court.

Prosecutor Penny Floyd said to compile the police brief, statements were being taken from witnesses both interstate and overseas.

Ms Floyd said electronic surveillance records also had to be sifted through.

"We're anticipating a substantial brief by late February or early March," she said.

The case was adjourned to March 22.

Topics:  arrest cocaine court drugs jail police

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