A Colombian man accused of importing cocaine with an estimated street value of $2.5 million faced court yesterday on charges of importing and attempting to traffic the drug.
Hector Munar Mayor was allegedly caught with 5kg of cocaine at his East Perth apartment on Wednesday afternoon in a joint sting by Australian Federal Police and the WA Police organised crime squad.
Federal investigators say the raid came after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement alerted them on January 15 that they had seized two packages from Mexico containing cocaine that was destined for Australia.
Authorities did a controlled delivery of the two boxes to the alleged intended recipient and then swooped on the Terrace Road residence.
Several packages of cocaine, totalling 5kg, were divided within the two boxes.
Cocaine sells in WA for between $500 and $600 a gram, police say.
Mr Munar Mayor made a brief appearance in Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and attempting to traffic a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
The 29-year-old, who was wearing a navy-and-white striped polo shirt, was not required to plead to the charges.
The court was told the charges will have to be heard in the Supreme Court.
His lawyer Alana Padmanabham said her client understood some English but she requested a Spanish interpreter be at his next court appearance.
Mr Munar Mayor did not apply for bail and was remanded in custody to appear in Stirling Gardens Magistrate's Court next month.
Det-Insp. Chris Adams described the seizure as a significant amount of cocaine. He said WA Police organised crime squad investigators would continue to work closely with the AFP to pursue any drug distribution networks in WA.
Steve Allsop, director of the National Drug Research Institute, said the use of cocaine was not as prevalent as amphetamines in WA because cocaine was more expensive and harder to get.
But he said there had been an increase in cocaine use in the past 10 years.
The maximum penalty for importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and attempting to traffic a commercial quantity of a border- controlled drug is life imprisonment.