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Beekeeper facing trial after ‘being duped by drug dealers’

An elderly beekeeper on trial for importing 2.5 kilograms of cocaine was duped out of $200,000 just months earlier in a deceased estate scam. 

Roy Arbon unwittingly imported cocaine into Australia after he was tricked by a Nigerian criminal enterprise who targeted him online, a Perth court has heard.

The 68-year-old from New Zealand flew from Brazil, via Dubai, to Perth in February last year.

He was found at the airport with 2.5 kilograms of 79 per cent pure cocaine – with a street value of up to $1.4million – hidden inside the lining of his suitcase.

Roy Arbon (pictured, left) unwittingly imported cocaine into Australia after he was tricked by a Nigerian criminal enterprise who targeted him online, a Perth court has heard

Defence counsel Sarah Oliver told the District Court of WA on Monday her client was a good, innocent man who had fallen victim to online scams and opportunities for loans for his organic honey business in recent years.

A page created by Mr Arbon’s supporters on GiveALittle says he had been conned in the past, leaving him penniless.

‘Roy was scammed out of $200,000 by people purporting to be lawyers acting for a deceased estate, from which Roy would inherit,’ states the page.

‘He’s a good-hearted, moral, wholesome and clean-living man, and has often helped with dangerous and shocking Search & Rescue operations.’

Defence counsel Sarah Oliver told the District Court of WA (pictured, stock image) on Monday her client was a good, innocent man who had fallen victim to online scams

Defence counsel Sarah Oliver told the District Court of WA (pictured, stock image) on Monday her client was a good, innocent man who had fallen victim to online scams

Ms Oliver said Mr Arbon was told the people who duped him represented international banks or finance organisations, and he didn’t know they were involved in drug trafficking.

Prosecutor Edward Fitzpatrick warned the jury about forming an impression of Mr Arbon based on the fact he ‘seems a rather grandfatherly man’, the ABC reported. 

The jury was shown footage of Mr Arbon being questioned by Australian Border Force officer Christopher Brown.

Mr Brown testified the accused replied ‘yes’ when asked if he packed his bags himself, was fully aware of the contents and everything inside belonged to him.

The ABF officer told the court Mr Arbon said he’d gone to Brazil to visit friends who he’d met when they worked on his New Zealand property.

A page created by Mr Arbon's supporters on GiveALittle says he had been conned in the past, leaving him penniless. He is facing Perth District Court (pictured, stock image) after allegedly being caught at the airport with cocaine in his suitcase

A page created by Mr Arbon’s supporters on GiveALittle says he had been conned in the past, leaving him penniless. He is facing Perth District Court (pictured, stock image) after allegedly being caught at the airport with cocaine in his suitcase

Mr Arbon told Mr Brown he had been given the suitcase in Brazil by a Nigerian man named Anthony Lambert. 

He had originally planned to go from Brazil to India but was turned back at the airport because he didn’t have a yellow fever certificate.

The footage showed a narcotics detection dog reacted positively when walked past Mr Arbon’s suitcase by sitting down in front of it.

Mr Arbon’s trial is set down for four days. 

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