"Puffery" helps earn man 12 years jail for drug importation

A BLI BLI man who used post boxes across south-east Queensland to import cocaine from Thailand has been sentenced to 12 years jail.

Steven Peter Verrall's court case for drug importation, trafficking and dealing with proceeds of crime played out in Queensland's justice system for almost five years.

The 41-year-old rented post boxes across the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, where he would pick up parcels sent from Thailand and harbouring cocaine.

Verrall outlined his business deals, drug qualities and customer satisfaction via emails which police intercepted between November 2007 and February 2008.

He was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty in 2009.

But he attempted to have his pleas set aside in the Court of Appeal, which led to a delay in his sentence.

Verrall represented himself during his two-day contested sentence in the Supreme Court this week.

He told the court the contents of his emails to his Thai supplier which spoke about drug quality and "big" customers was just "puffery".

Supreme Court Justice John Byrne sentenced Verrall to 12 years behind bars.

He has already served 1890 days in custody.


EARLIER: It was all just "puffery" when Steven Peter Verrall boasted about the quality of and demand for his cocaine in emails police intercepted, a court has heard.

The 41-year-old is representing himself in a four-day contested sentence for importing cocaine from Thailand and trafficking the drug from his Bli Bli home.

Verrall pleaded guilty to the charges, including drug importation, dealing with proceeds of crime and trafficking, in 2009 but then launched a bid in the Court of Appeal to have his pleas set aside.

The appeal was dismissed.

His sentence has been delayed until this week as a result.

Verrall gave his own submissions to the sentencing judge in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

He referred to emails he sent to his Thai supplier that police intercepted which complained about the quality of drugs received and "up the chain" people who wanted drugs.

Verrall said the most happening in those emails was an attempt to generate better quality.

He also stated an email in which he wrote he had not dealt with people for a long time was actually a reference to him not dealing drugs.

But Crown Prosecutor Glen Rice submitted that was only Verrall's interpretation of the email.

Verrall also explained his mention of "two big guys" or "four big guys" throughout the intercepted emails was just "puffery".

He referred to most of the content about drug quality and demanding customers as puffery.

Verrall has pleaded guilty to importing cocaine from Thailand between 2007 and 2008.

The court had heard Verrall hired 14 post boxes, through Australia Post and a private company, where his drug shipments would be sent through.

He also paid his supplier in Thailand through wire transfer and the post.

Verrall was a wholesale dealer who dealt on an ounce or multiple ounce level, the Crown submitted.

The hearing continues.

Topics:  cocaine drug trafficking thailand

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