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Damion Flower Sentenced - Media Release

Two members of a criminal syndicate arrested for importing 228 kilograms of cocaine into Sydney have been sentenced to 28 and 23 years imprisonment.

Racing identity, Damion Flower, and airport baggage handler, To’Oto’O Mafiti, were the subject of joint investigations between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, NSW Police Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Department of Home Affairs, and NSW Crime Commission which began in January 2018 to target the activities of the alleged criminal syndicate.

The men were arrested on 22 May 2019 for importing cocaine into Australia via commercial flights from South Africa on 12 different occasions between June 2016 and the date of their arrest.

Mr Flower was arrested for his role in facilitating and receiving imports while Mr Mafiti, an employee of a Sydney International Airport service provider, was arrested for using his airside access to import cocaine through the baggage holds of commercial flights. At the time of arrest, Mr Mafiti was in possession of a bag containing approximately 24 kilograms of cocaine.

Each importation contained approximately 19 kilograms of cocaine, totaling approximately 228 kilograms. The combined value is estimated to be worth more than $70 million wholesale. Approximately $4.6 million in cash was also seized during the arrests and a total of $6.7 million was seized during the whole investigation, which is believed to be the proceeds of the drug imports.

Both men plead guilty to participating in the business of importing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs and dealing with money that was, and that they believed, to be the proceeds of crime. Mr Flower was sentenced 28 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 17 years. Mr Mafiti was sentenced to 23 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 years.

Upon their arrests, the NSW Crime Commission commenced criminal asset confiscation proceedings against both men. The proceedings against Mr Mafiti are still before the NSW Supreme Court, however the proceedings against Mr Flower have been finalised with confiscation orders having been made that require him to pay several million dollars to the Crown.