Sydney drug-smuggling mastermind jailed

·3-min read

The mastermind behind a business that smuggled a smorgasbord of drugs concealed in soup tins and candles into Australia was motivated by a desire to fuel his own addiction, which at its height was costing him about $7000 a day, a court has heard.

Dov Tenenboim, 36, pleaded guilty to importing and trafficking a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs after his arrest in June 2017, admitting he smuggled large amounts of ketamine, MDMA and cocaine into the country over a year.

After they were paid for, mostly by Bitcoin, the drugs would be shipped to Australia hidden in soup tins, citronella candles and baby formula, and then distributed to clients, the court has heard.

While Tenenboim admits importing and trafficking "at least" a commercial quantity of drugs, he disputes a large quantity he's accused of dealing in.

He contends his connection with drugs received by his international business associate, who was arrested in Sydney and gave evidence against him.

The man said he was tasked with stepping into the role of Tenenboim while he was on holiday in South Africa, but Tenenboim said the drugs weren't his own.

He was helping his associate establish his own drug supply business in Australia, he said.

When sentencing Tenenboim in the Downing Centre District Court on Monday, Judge Ian McClintock rejected his version of events.

"(There's) no plausible reason why he would assist (his associate) to set up his own, presumably permanent, drug dealing business, introducing him to his customers and demonstrating his method of operation, whilst intending to continue his own parallel operation," he said.

While a person criminally concerned in the events could be unreliable and the associate had implicated Tenenboim in exchange for a reduced sentence, Judge McClintock said there was nothing that led him to doubt the man's credibility or reliability.

Tenenboim's offending was "very serious", with the "sophisticated" operation he ran in a "blase manner" seeing large amounts of drugs make their way into the community.

"There's no doubt that the offender imported significantly more than the commercial quantity referable to each type (of drug)," he said.

"In the case of cocaine and MDMA, these amounts were several times the commercial quantity."

He noted Tenenboim had been motivated by financial gain and personal drug consumption, which had started as a sporadic means of self-medicating depression and panic attacks.

"(It) escalated, he said, to five to six times a day. He made attempts to abstain, but could not quit for more than one day.

"He said at the time of his arrest, he was using six to seven grams a day, which he said had a street value of between $6000 and $7000.

"He thought, 'Why buy it out of my own pocket?'."

Despite his addiction, Tenenboim has a high level of moral culpability for the crimes, Judge McClintock said, and while he pleaded guilty, the sentence discount he is entitled to was halved as his dispute of certain facts had dragged out proceedings.

On the other hand, the Sydney man has expressed remorse, been clean while in custody, and has moderate prospects of rehabilitation, he said.

Judge McClintock sentenced Tenenboim to an aggregate sentence of 16 years and four months in prison, but he will be eligible for parole after 10 years and six months.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting