Tristan Waters and David Campbell cleared of conspiracy to import 1.2 tons of cocaine

The charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The jury retired on July 18 and spent two weeks deliberating before returning with its verdicts Tuesday, finding that Waters and Campbell were not guilty of import conspiracy but found Campbell guilty of possession conspiracy.

Crown Prosecutor Sean Flood had claimed Waters was among a trio that played “a major role” at the forefront of the import conspiracy, citing alleged admissions or admissions he made when Waters was with an undercover cop named “Ivan” in the hotel spoke.

He said Waters told Ivan he was there to represent two others named Gov and MC and described himself as “the level-headed of the three”.

The prosecutor said Waters was recorded saying, “None of us knew where that was.”

“Everyone thought we robbed each other. The governor threatened me, I threatened MC, MC threatened me, we’ve all been back and forth … for eight months,” Waters allegedly said.

Waters’ attorney David Dalton, SC said there was no evidence that Waters had done anything in relation to the company until he had booked his flights and accommodation to Belgrade.

“Nowhere in this meeting [in Serbia on January 16, 2018] Says Mr Waters: “I was there from the start, I was involved in the importation,” Dalton said.

He claimed that “everyone played a role” in the meeting.

Prosecutors claimed Campbell was aware of “the amount of border controlled drugs hidden in the shipment” as he traveled to western Sydney in April 2017, scheduled the delivery of the shipping container to Llandilo, bought a van and hired a forklift and a truck.

In search of his return, Campbell flew to Auckland in October 2017 and met with undercover officers at the JetPark Hotel. The Crown claimed that a comment by Campbell that the steel was “special” showed his level of knowledge.

Campbell denied any knowledge of the cocaine in the container and defended it with duress. He said he received threats against himself and his family after the shipment went missing and tried to get them back to ensure their safety.

His lawyer Ronald Driels argued that Campbell was an outsider who had been “pressured” by the Australian Federal Police when they were looking for key players in an international criminal drug syndicate.

Waters and Campbell, who have been in custody since 2018, face a sentencing hearing in October.

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Justin Scaccy

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