Vaios Gkourmis – who was arrested after the Australian Federal Police found $20 million worth of cocaine hidden inside an imported jukebox from Greece – has been jailed for more than a decade.
According to The Herald Sun, the Melbourne man was sentenced in the County Court on Wednesday to 12 years and six months behind bars with a non-parole period of eight years after he pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
In June last year, a 290 kilogram jukebox arrived in Melbourne from Greece by air cargo but was busted open by Australian Border Force officials. They discovered 45 packages inside containing cocaine, which had a pure weight of 36 kilograms.
The cocaine was tested, removed and replaced with a neutral substance and “tracer material.”
When Gkourmis and another man broke into the jukebox to access the drugs, they became suspicious about its appearance, Nine News reported. After struggling to dismantle the jukebox, Gkourmis headed to Bunnings to get tools to deconstruct it.
“I’m worried. I’m worried. I’m worried they [the police] have… replaced it and… are watching the whole thing,” the associate said, according to the captured conversations.
A warrant was executed at Gkourmis’ Reservoir home the next day.
Victorian County Court Judge Fiona Todd said on Wednesday that Gkourmis’ involvement was fleeting and his reason for participation was profit, through money or drugs.
He was addicted to cocaine and used the drug daily, she said.
With time already served, Gkourmis will be eligible for parole in less than seven years.