A LOCAL man allegedly involved in the importation of more than 15 million ecstasy tablets was a “trusted, reliable” member of the group which conspired to import the drugs, the jury in his Supreme Court trial has heard.
Pasquale “Poppy” Sergi, 48, is standing trial with three other men – John Higgs, Salvatore Agresta and Rob Karam – on charges of intending to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported substance, namely MDMA.
During his closing address to the jury, Crown prosecutor Brent Young said while Sergi played a “subordinated role” in the operation, it was obvious he was a “trusted, reliable” member given the tasks he was required to carry out.
“It is illuminating of what is the trusted, reliable role that Mr Sergi fulfils within the group,” Mr Young said.
Sergi was arrested in 2008, along with four other Griffith men, for the 2007 importation of $600 million worth of ecstasy tablets, smuggled into the country in tomato tins.
The month-long trial at the Melbourne Supreme Court has seen hundreds of hours of video and audio surveillance played to the jury, documenting the movements and conversations of the accused in the months following the arrival of the drugs in Melbourne.
In the surveillance, Sergi was heard to be talking about the shipment a number of times, particularly when the group was told the container had been “flagged” by police and was being watched.
Mr Young’s closing submissions to the jury lasted nearly three days and dissected the surveillance footage and recordings taken by police over the time of the operation in great detail.
The Crown told the jury on Wednesday that Sergi was incriminated by his own recorded conversations and conversations of other group members which identified Sergi as a messenger.
“The evidence variously, directly and further assuredly incriminates Mr Sergi in the alleged conspiracy,” Mr Young said.
“He is clearly doing what we say is part of his role within the conspiracy as a whole, and that is providing assistance to the group.”
At the closure of Mr Young’s submission, the defence began their own submissions yesterday which are expected to continue into next week.