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A man accused of trying to smuggle a shipment of cocaine reportedly worth $60 million into Victoria via Port Fairy has denied he’d flee the country on a fake passport.
Youssif Tawfik applied for bail today in the Victorian Supreme Court after an alleged attempt to import 186kg of the illicit drug off Victoria’s coast, AAP reports.
The 25-year-old promised to wear an ankle tracker and work with his brother if released.
The court heard two separate attempts to collect the drugs from a Chinese drug syndicate “mothership” were both abandoned due to seasickness and rough seas.
The 50-metre mothership known as KM8 had been under surveillance for about a year before it was intercepted and raided near Hobart in December 2016.
It's alleged Tawfik did not sail on the smaller boats but performed the role of ground crew.
Australian Federal Police agent Paul Wheeler opposed Tawfik's release on bail, saying he was a flight risk.
"He's got the motivation to flee. He's got the capability to flee," he told the court.
"He can obtain false identification, enough to obtain a passport."
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The agent added Tawfik had previously obtained a genuine Victorian driver’s licence using false documents and a fake name – which he’d used to rent property and visit someone in prison.
Defence lawyer Robert Richter QC said Tawfik could wear a tracking device if released and would receive support from his girlfriend and family.
3M's business development manager Philipp Schluter said the company's ankle bracelets can be cut off with tools bought from a hardware store.
"It takes about 40 seconds between cutting it off and a message being sent to officers," Mr Schluter said.
But agent Wheeler didn't believe this would prevent Tawfik from fleeing.
"It doesn't stop him from getting a false ID, getting ready and then departing at short notice," he said.
Justice Mark Weinberg's bail decision is expected to be handed down later this week.
The other co-accused are Omer Tok, Christopher Peroulis, Mohamed Khaddour, Moshey Youkhana and Bill Triantafilopoulous, and all are charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of cocaine.