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Phuket Drugs Buyer Paid Aussie Customs Officer $50,000

Friday, May 31, 2013
PHUKET: The ringleader of a smuggling gang who bought drugs for $7000 on Phuket and bribed a customs officer in Australia has been sentenced to jail.

Joseph Harb, 28, paid the officer, Paul John Katralis, $50,000 to help him through Sydney Airport.

Harb expected to make $200,000 out of the deal, a District Court in Sydney heard today.

Harb, a hairdressing apprentice, had gambling debts of $800,000 he was hoping to pay off. The money was owed to his family.

Harb and a drug mule collected the tablets in Phuket, and Harb wrapped them in a pair of jeans and packed them in his suitcase.

When Harb arrived at Sydney Airport on August 18, Katralis showed him where to get his luggage and pointed out the exit.

Australian Federal Police officers were watching.
The tablets containing 3.18kg of pure pseudoephadrine were intended to be used to make 2.9kg of methamphetamine worth an estimated $2.3 million.

Harb,sentenced to eight-and-a-half years, will serve a minimum of five-and-a-half years.

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