Musician known as the ‘Cocaine Casanova’ is found guilty of carrying more than 500kg of drugs worth $245MILLION inside a catamaran travelling from Tahiti to Australia
- Craig Lembke was found guilty of importing commercial quantity of cocaine
- Known as ‘Cocaine Casanova’ he was arrested in 2017 with 500kg of cocaine
- He had sailed from Tahiti to Australia with the drugs hidden in a catamaran
A musician has been found guilty of sailing a catamaran packed with more than 500 kilograms of cocaine from Tahiti to NSW for a $500,000 payout.
A Newcastle District Court jury had been deliberating since Friday before finding saxophonist and keen sailor Craig Lembke guilty on Wednesday of importing a commercial quantity of cocaine.
Lembke’s co-accused, Daniel Percy, was found not guilty.
Craig Lembke (pictured) is a talented flautist and saxophonist from New South Wales
The pure quantity of cocaine in the 700kg of white powder seized by police was just shy of 550kg
Lembke, who was dubbed the ‘Cocaine Casanova’ after it was revealed he’d been dating TV presenter Susie Elelman before his arrest – had claimed he didn’t know the cocaine, valued at $245million, was hidden in the twin hulls of the 13-metre catamaran Skarabej in late 2017.
At the time of his arrest the musician claimed he had no idea more than 500kg of cocaine was hidden inside the vessel.
The pure quantity of cocaine in the 700kg of white powder seized by police was just shy of 550kg.
The 700 one-kilo bricks of white powder had been stamped with the logo from the television series ThunderCats.
Lembke had known the organiser – who later pleaded guilty and was jailed for his role in the drug importation – through the music scene in Newcastle.
Prosecutor Rob Ranken said Lembke had been recruited by one of the drug shipment organisers.
Lembke had known the organiser – who later pleaded guilty and was jailed for his role in the drug importation – through the music scene in Newcastle
Mr Ranken told the jury Lembke, an experienced sailor, set off from Tahiti with a friend on October 17 in 2017 to sail the Scarabej to Australia.
He sailed into Coffs Harbour on November 10 to be met by Australian Border Force officers to complete immigration formalities and receive port-to-port clearance to take the catamaran to Pittwater.
Judge Jonathon Priestley remanded the 49-year-old for a sentencing hearing on December 16.