Olympian found guilty of attempting to smuggle £109m of cocaine

2 April 2021, 13:19

Nathan Baggaley pleaded not guilty
Nathan Baggaley pleaded not guilty. Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

An Australian Olympic kayaker and his brother have been found guilty of attempting to smuggle A$200m (£109m) of cocaine into the country.

On Thursday, Nathan Baggaley, 45, who won two kayaking silver medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, was found guilty of attempting to smuggle cocaine worth nearly £110 million into Australia.

Nathan Baggaley and Dru Baggaley will be sentenced later this month. Both had pleaded not guilty.

Dru Baggaley and Anthony Draper were arrested in 2018 after a dramatic police chase at sea that also involved the navy and air force, while Nathan Baggaley purchased the boat used in the incident.

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The pair made an 11-hour journey in June 2018 to meet up with a foreign ship that was carrying the drugs.

However, they were spotted by surveillance planes and followed by a navy ship. Footage captured Dru Baggaley throwing packages of cocaine overboard while Draper attempted to get away from the ship.

They were later caught by a Queensland police vessel off the coast and arrested by armed officers.

Dru Baggaley said he thought he was collecting tobacco and claims Draper kidnapped him and made him go.

However, Draper said he was recruited by Dru Baggaley to drive the boat and claims he was told they were picking up "smoko" which he thought was marijuana.

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Draper pleaded guilty to importing cocaine earlier this year and had his sentence reduced for testifying against the brothers.

Nathan Baggaley's recent history is mired in drugs related scandals.

In 2005, he was banned from competing for 15 months after testing positive for steroids.

Two years later he was found with 762 ecstasy tablets, cannabis and cash in his car then was jailed after facing more drug charges of manufacturing and dealing ecstasy that year.

In 2009, he and his brother served jail terms after pleading guilty to manufacturing and supplying the drug MDMA.

In 2013, he served time behind bars for attempting to import 2C-B, a hallucinogen.