Published: Saturday February 23, 2013 MYT 12:22:00 PM
Malaysian pilot in Australia gets six years’ jail for smuggling drugs
MELBOURNE: A Malaysian who tried to smuggle more than A$1mil worth of methamphetamine through the Sydney Airport has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Thiagu Supramaniam, 32, who was about to be promoted to a Boeing 747 captain, was caught with 4.49kg of methamphetamine meant to be dropped off with another drug courier at the Stamford Hotel in Sydney, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.
Supramaniam was caught when Customs officers conducted a random inspection of his aircraft after it arrived from Kuala Lumpur on January 10 last year and found six packages of the drugs concealed in his luggage.
Supramaniam pleaded guilty to smuggling in the drugs, which had an 80 percent purity level.
He confessed to investigators that he had imported similar packages into Australia on four seperate occasions.
The court was told Supramaniam had succumbed to a gambling addiction, which led to dealings with a loan shark connected to drug cartels, who had threatened his family.
He started betting on soccer matches during the 2008 Euro Cup and had accumulated more than A$15,000 in debt with high interest, the court heard.
According to travel records, the court was told that Supramaniam had travelled to Australia 47 times on one-night stays over a period of six months in 2011.
Judge Ian McClintock in the District Court jailed Supramaniam for six years with a non-parole period of four years, on Friday.
He will be eligible for parole in January, 2016. - Bernama