Hung jury in Colombian drug import trial

·2-min read

A jury has failed to reach a verdict in the case of two men charged with importing cocaine after police put substitute powder and a covert listening device in a shipping container that arrived in Brisbane from Colombia.

Mark Anthony Dumenil, 49, and Hashanth Arjuna Kulatunge, 51, both pleaded not guilty to importing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs at the start of the Brisbane Supreme Court trial last week.

Jurors said on Friday they were unable to reach a majority verdict regarding those charges after deliberating for more than a day.

But the jury did find Dumenil guilty of attempting to possess commercial quantities of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs.

Kulatunge pleaded guilty to the same charge at the start of the trial.

The pair were arrested with Colombian brothers Giovani and Wilmar Buitrago Aguilar in January 2018.

Prosecutors said Australian Border Force detected cocaine in the container that arrived in Brisbane days before the arrests.

Federal Police removed 33kg of cocaine powder containing 26.5kg of pure cocaine found in 99 plastic packets in the shipping container's railings.

They replaced it with another substance and inserted a sound activated recording device before the shipping container arrived at a Wacol warehouse.

The Buitrago Aguilar brothers admitted their role in receiving what they presumed to be 60 bricks of cocaine with a wholesale value of between two and six million dollars in the same court in May last year.

Wilmar Buitrago Aguilar was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a non-parole period of six years, while his brother was sentenced to eight years with a non-parole period of four years and four months.

Dumenil and Kulatunge were remanded in custody after being on bail during the trial.

Their matters will be listed for mention on September 23.