Killer's jail time extended for 'outrageous' drug plot
Melbourne underworld figure George Marrogi will remain behind bars until his mid-60s, after his prison term was increased for an "outrageous" drug smuggling plot with his girlfriend.
Marrogi, 34, is serving a 32-year jail term over the daylight shooting murder of a man tricked into visiting a suburban shopping plaza.
He faced the County Court in Melbourne by video link on Friday where he and girlfriend Antonietta Mannella, 29, were sentenced for running a drug empire while Marrogi was in jail awaiting the outcome of his murder trial.
"Trafficking in large quantities of drugs and arranging the importation of drugs from prison, while serving a sentence for murder, is outrageous," Judge Peter Rozen told the court.
"Such brazen conduct makes a mockery of the criminal justice system and is an affront to the community."
He sentenced Marrogi, whom he said was the "author of his own misfortune", to 22 years for the drug offending.
His previous 27-year minimum jail term was extended to 32 years.
The couple pleaded guilty to two drug-trafficking charges, one state and one commonwealth, including importing 69kg of methamphetamine and heroin from Thailand disguised as green tea and magnets.
The drugs were seized by authorities after arriving in the country in February 2022. Judge Rozen said the estimated street value was between $23 million and $34 million.
The state offence involved Marrogi enlisting Mannella's help to move 800 litres of Butanediol from South Australia to Victoria. The man who sourced the Butanediol owed Marrogi $1.5 million.
However, their plan was foiled when police pulled the truck over near Horsham in January 2022.
Marrogi, who committed the latest offences from Barwon Prison, previously told the court he dragged Mannella into the scheme.
They organised the plot through covert prison phone calls, where calls to Marrogi's lawyers office were diverted to Mannella.
She would answer the phone under the name "Cassidy", who was a legal assistant at the law firm, and pretend to have legal chat for 30 seconds before beginning their real conversation.
The pair used code names during their calls, including "kitten" for live drug imports and "zuze" for cash.
When the drugs from Thailand were seized at Melbourne airport, Mannella allegedly asked another underworld figure, Tony Mokbel, to pass on a message to Marrogi. "Tell him no good," she told Mokbel.
Judge Rozen gave Mannella a smaller sentence of 13 years, due to her lesser role in the crime, difficult conditions in protective custody and because she acted out of love and an unhealthy attachment to Marrogi.
"Miss Mannella had fallen in love with Mr Marrogi and willingly assumed the role," the judge said.
"Her attachment to Mr Marrogi was very unhealthy psychologically, and she could not resist him."
She will be eligible for parole after serving six years and 10 months.
Marrogi and Mannella will have their sentences finalised next week.