Knowledge Is Very Dangerous

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Court hears Bungendore man guilty of trying to import cocaine in excavator arm believed he wouldn’t be breaking the law

 

An x-ray picture of an excavator with many little visible packages in its arm.
Landscaper Timothy Engstrom has faced a sentencing hearing after he was found guilty of trying to import cocaine.()

A Sydney court has heard a Bungendore landscape gardener found guilty of trying to possess nearly 300 kilograms of cocaine told a psychologist he believed if he didn’t ask questions of his co-accused about the shipment he wouldn’t be breaking the law.

Timothy Engstrom, 38, was found guilty of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of cocaine in the arm of an excavator by a jury late last year.

His co-accused Adam Hunter pleaded guilty and is serving more than 12 years’ jail.

The pair was arrested in spectacular fashion, with police pouncing on the men as they high-fived each other when they began emptying the excavator arm of packages they thought were the drugs.

Police had intercepted the excavator after it was imported from South Africa and had replaced the drugs with another substance.

They had also begun listening to the men’s conversations.

The New South Wales District Court heard Engstrom had a lesser role, and his sentence should reflect that.

Mr Engstrom’s lawyer told the court there was also no evidence about any financial reward he would receive.

But Judge Gina O’Rourke asked why anyone else would get involved.

“It’s a very big excavator,” she said.

‘He stupidly said yes’

Brown and black packages full of cocaine laid out in rows on a white mat on a concrete floor.
Australian Border Force officials seized 384 packages of cocaine from the excavator’s arm in 2019.()

Prosecutor Adam McGrath noted Hunter had asked two others for help but they declined.

“It was ultimately Mr Engstrom who did the hard yakka,” Mr McGrath said.

One issue in the case was about exactly when Mr Engstrom became aware there was a shipment of drugs before they were delivered.

But Judge O’Rourke said she wasn’t sure how that would help in her sentencing.

“Two others had the good sense to say no,” Judge O’Rourke said.

“He stupidly said yes.”

Mr Engstrom’s lawyer said once he was aware of the drugs he just wanted them out of there.

But Mr McGrath pointed to the excitement of the two men as they began unloading the packages, after hours of grinding.

Mr McGrath also noted one of the people who refused was offered $100,000 by Hunter to help open the excavator.

“He was not intending to be skint after he [obtained] the cocaine,” Judge O’Rourke said.

Mr Engstrom will be sentenced next month.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-28/timothy-engstrom-bungendore-excavator-plot-sentencing-hearing/102273286

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