Drug courier found with $995k in cash
A drug "courier" caught with $995,000 in cash as well as a loaded pistol and drugs in a hotel room has been jailed for more than six years.
But Emmanuel Kambouris' troubles are only just starting, the court heard, after his barrister admitted the money, which has been surrendered to the crown, was not his.
The 36-year-old appeared in the District Court last week where he was told he would not be eligible for parole for the next four years and 10 months.
Before a small contingent of family and friends, Kambouris gave a thumbs up via video screen from prison and left to begin his lengthy sentence.
Kambouris was arrested in April 2020 after police responded to an abandoned Mercedes parked in a street in Grange.
The car was found running at about 4.30am on April 16 with its lights still on.
Under the driver's seat was a loaded handgun.
The car had been rented to Kambouris, with police then attending an Adelaide hotel where he was staying.
Inside the hotel room was 211g of methamphetamine, 800ml of fantasy and $995,000 in cash.
Near the stash was a digital scales, resealable bags and prescription tablets.
Kambouris was charged with possession of a firearm, two counts of trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug and money laundering.
He pleaded guilty to all charges but claimed his role in the operation was only that of courier.
During sentencing submissions Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton QC said the sheer amount of money indicated his role was more senior.
"In my submission, on the facts, you don't get entrusted with that quantity of money as a courier, or however you want to label yourself, by some sort of organisation unless you have previously earnt their trust," he said.
"To earn the trust of an organisation standing behind this man would mean prior involvements with them.
"He is trusted, he is an important cog, in my submissions in a significant trafficking enterprise."
Mr Hinton also said the DPP had begun moves to confiscate Kambouris' car, interests in two properties and $20,000 in a bank account as criminal assets.
David Edwardson QC, for Kambouris, urged Judge Michael Boylan to consider a merciful sentence to ensure his client was not institutionalised.
He said Kambouris had become involved in the methamphetamine trade to pay off a pre-existing drug debt of $20,000 only to lose the million dollars in cash.
"It is a fairly significant matter for him because ultimately the money was not his," he said.
In sentencing, Judge Boylan said he accepted that Kambouris had earned the trust of those he worked for.
"The crimes for which I must sentence you comprise an incursion into very serious criminal conduct," he said.
"Very regrettably, owing to the huge sum of money that has been forfeited to the Crown, you almost certainly will have further pressure put upon you by the criminals for whom you have been working.
"But that was a choice made by you, it cannot operate to reduce your sentence."
Kambouris will be eligible for parole in early 2025.
Originally published as Drug 'courier' found with a million dollars in cash