Craig Phelps jailed for maximum four years and six months for


HAUL: Cocaine seized by the n Federal Police during an investigation into an international drug syndicate and Craig Phelps, 31, who was jailed for a maximum of four years and six months on Friday. A UNIVERSITY of Newcastle business student and personal trainer has been jailed for a maximum of four-and-a-half years for his role in an international cocaine importation syndicate which included a high-flying Rio Tinto executive and an underworld figure who went by the moniker “Dr Octopus 88”.

Craig Phelps, 31, was arrested at a house in Adamstown Heights on September 12, 2016, when he used a fake driver’s licence to tryto take possession of a package, whichpurported to be a “sausage stuffer”, but was actually a shipment of 16 kilograms of cocaine sent from the United States.

n Federal Police (AFP) had been tracking the package since dragginghigh-flying Rio Tinto executive BennetSchwartz off a plane at Sydney Airport.

Schwartz cameto their attention after n Customs officers found cocaine inside two packages from the United States in August, 2015, and again in May, 2016.

The first package purportedto contain glass and the othera car positioning dolly.

They arrested Schwartz on September 2, 2016, after identifying that his IP address had been used to track the consignments and took control of his Blackberry, which was installed with a phantom secure messaging application.

The app is marketed as a “high end communication service for sophisticated and exclusive executives” and police said it had a “highly encrypted configuration” that prevented interception.

They then used the phone to continue to communicate with the man behind the “Dr Octopus 88” moniker.

The underworld figure sent Schwartz’s phone a tracking number for a sausage stuffer on September 9, 2016, that said it was being sent from a North Hollywood address.

Then at 4.20pm on September 12, AFP officers conducted a controlled delivery of the cocaine shipment to an address in Monitor Street, Adamstown Heights.

Phelps, who used a fake name and driver’s licence, signed for the package and was arrested a short time later when he loaded the cocaine into a car.

“We have a massive problem,” the man behind the Dr Octopus 88 moniker texted Schwartz’s phone half an hour later.

Phelps was on Friday jailed for a maximum of four years and six months, with a non-parole period of two years and three months in Sydney Downing Centre District Court.

He had pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.

Schwartz was last week jailed for a maximum of eight years after it was revealed he had been subjected to repeated assaults while in custody.

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