The drugs were found packed in more than 3,000 tomato tins in a shipping container.(Australian Customs)
[ABC] It can now be revealed that drug king-pin Pasquale Barbaro, of Griffith, in New South Wales, is serving a life sentence for importing the world’s biggest ecstasy haul into Australia.
A suppression order on the sentence was lifted today, after a jury found four of his co-accused guilty of conspiracy to possess a commercial quantity of MDMA.
Barbaro, 50, originally of Griffith, in NSW, pleaded guilty to charges including the importation of 15 million ecstasy tablets.
The drugs, which were estimated to be worth at least $122 million, were hidden in cans labelled as “peeled tomatoes” from Italy.
Barbaro will serve a minimum term of 30 years in jail.
In sentencing, Justice King said he was at the top of a “very well organised worldwide criminal group”.
“You, Pasquale Barbaro were at the apex of that criminality, at the very top of the tree in this country,” she said.
“Your purpose in attempting to posess the goods was to ensure financial riches of a quite astronomical order.”
Barbaro’s co-accused, Saverio Zirilli, 55, was sentenced to 26 years in jail with a minimum of 18 years.
Both men were also convicted of attempted possession of nearly 100 kilograms of cocaine, hidden in bags of Columbian coffee beans.
Four others have been found guilty of one count each of conspiracy to possess a commercial quantity of MDMA.