Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
No bail for Olympian over $200m drug haul

Olympic silver medallist Nathan Baggaley has been denied bail in Brisbane over an alleged plot to import more than half a tonne of cocaine.

August 15, 2019

World champion kayaker and Olympic silver medallist Nathan Baggaley has been denied bail following his alleged involvement in a botched plot to import $210 million worth of cocaine with his brother.

Baggaley, 43, is accused of buying a $100,000 boat Dru Baggaley and Anthony Draper allegedly used to collect almost 600kg of the drug from a larger vessel off the northern NSW coast in 2018.

The pair were arrested in August 2018 after a dramatic sea chase 70 kilometres off Byron Bay during which Dru Baggaley and Draper allegedly dumped the haul overboard while trying to flee authorities sent to intercept them.

They’re charged with possessing a commercial quantity of illegal drugs and drug importation after authorities fished parcels of cocaine out of the sea.

Three-time world champion Nathan Baggaley was arrested in June 2019 after a 10-month investigation.

A search of his Byron Bay home allegedly found cocaine, cash, false identity documents, and encrypted mobile phones.

On Thursday, Brisbane Supreme Court heard Nathan Baggaley purchased the inflatable rib boat in May 2018 before ordering urgent modifications to equip it with navigation equipment.

He’s also accused of attempting to conceal the boat’s identification after his fingerprint was found in tape hiding its registration number.

Crown prosecutor Sophie Harburg says Nathan Baggaley had a “serious and persistent” drug-related criminal history and the alleged crimes were committed while he was on parole.

She raised concerns that if granted parole, the dual Olympic silver medallist may re-offend in a bid to repay the drug syndicate for the lost cocaine. 

Ms Harburg said Nathan Baggaley had also refused to hand over a password for one of the phones found at his home, saying he didn’t know who it belonged to.

Justice Peter Davis denied Nathan Baggaley’s bail application saying his lack of co-operation with police coupled with the false identity documents made him a flight risk.

“Given the seriousness of the alleged offending, the period of imprisonment which Mr Baggaley will be facing if convicted, together with the risk of reoffending … the applicant is an unacceptable risk,” he said.

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