An Austrian woman who attempted to smuggle drugs masked by popular confectionary Ferrero Rocher and Toberone chocolate has been jailed.
The 31 year old from Vienna entered Melbourne Airport from Thailand on March 10 and was found with 0.2 grams of methamphetamine. Nicole Demirkiran was charged and released on bail however federal police later discovered over 1 kilogram of a white powder substance hidden within sealed Ferrero Rocher and Toberone chocolate. Further investigation showed that the drug was 78% pure methamphetamine.
Demirkiran initially told the County Court in Melbourne that she received the chocolates from an unknown source in Bangkok as a present for her four year old child but was unaware they contained drugs, however later admitted that she received them from two men involved in a large criminal network.
The court heard that Demirkiran got involved in the scheme because she was under financial pressure, with her husband currently without a job and she was on the pension and in severe debt. She feared that without drastic measures she would soon lose her home. Demirkiran confided in a women who said she could help and subsequently arrived in Bangkok as instructed to fly into Melbourne Airport. At that point she suspected that the chocolate probably contained drugs, which she knew was illegal to import into Australia and attempted to pull out of the deal only to be threatened at gun point to continue with the delivery.
Judge Barbara Cotterell accepted that she was sorry and understood the pressure she was being placed under, however handed down a five and a half year sentence on Thursday 8th October. Judge Cotterell said that the only deterrent available for other would be smugglers was immediate jail time, however in this case she would also consider the seven months behind bars as time served. Demirkiran will serve a minimum of three years jail time before she is eligible for parole and Cotterell believed that she had good prospects for rehabilitation.