Coke drop: mystery message from ‘Thunderbutt’
POLICE are investigating who sent an encrypted message to an alleged cocaine kingpin while he was miles out to sea picking up one of the largest reported imports of the drug into the country, a court has heard.
Australian Federal Police have told the Supreme Court they don't know the identity of the person who allegedly sent Coolangatta fishmonger Dru Baggaley, 36, an encrypted message while he was at sea with $176 million worth of drugs.
They told the court a person using the pseudonym "Thunderbutt" messaged Baggaley on the application Threema, when Baggaley was on his way back to the mainland after picking up the drugs from a container ship off Brunswick Heads in northern NSW.
"Im on standby ready. Let me know what's," the message read, according to the AFP statement of facts tendered in court during Baggaley's failed bail bid.
Federal agent Andrew Small, from the AFP's joint organised crime taskforce, told the court police couldn't read the full message because the encrypted application was password-protected.
Baggaley, the brother of Olympic rower Nathan Baggaley, was taken into custody on July 31 before he could make it ashore, and allegedly threw the cocaine packages overboard from his rigid inflatable boat after a navy patrol crew spotted him and his co-accused Anthony Draper, 53, from the Sydney suburb of Balgowlah.
Baggaley has been charged with possession of 609kg of cocaine, and faces possible life in prison if convicted.
Baggaley, who police allege is a principal in a transnational crime syndicate, declined to speak to police in an interview, but he told them he had thought he was picking up tobacco and was going to be given the boat as payment, along with cash.
Baggaley refused to give police the password for the encrypted app on his phone, which he said he received in the mail.
His case returns to Southport Magistrates Court next year.