Bail denied over Vic $60m cocaine import

Melissa Iaria

The alleged organiser of the Victorian end of an operation to import $60 million worth of cocaine into Australia has been refused bail because his alleged crimes were driven by the lure of profit and he might reoffend.

Moshey Youkhana, 46, is among six men accused of trying to import 186kg of cocaine, which was seized from a 50-metre former commercial vessel on December 12.

Despite the offer of a surety of up to $300,000, Melbourne Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg ruled on Friday Youkhana had not shown cause for his release.

He said Youkhana posed an unacceptable risk of reoffending and his alleged crimes were deliberate, driven by the lure of substantial profit.

Although the defence submitted Youkhana, a father of two, had the support of his family, the magistrate said it was not enough to stop his alleged involvement in the well planned, high-risk criminal venture.

Youkhana is charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of cocaine between September 28 and December 8 last year.

Police allege he headed a Victorian-based syndicate and was the facilitator, financier and organiser of the efforts to import the drug using a number of boats.

The syndicate was to be supplied the drugs from a Chinese-based syndicate, following a meeting between two ships off the coast of south western Victoria.

However police, using physical and electronic surveillance, arrested Youkhana and five others on January 18.

Youkhana is expected to face a pre-trial committal hearing in July.