Men jailed over ‘greedy’ plot to aid cocaine smuggling

Rex Martinich |

Brendan Sipple was handed an 12-year jail sentence for his role in a cocaine smuggling plot.
Brendan Sipple was handed an 12-year jail sentence for his role in a cocaine smuggling plot.

Two men hired to find 48kg of high-purity cocaine hidden in a shipping container have been jailed for their “greed”.

Jordan Roman Brennan, 29, and Brendan John Sipple, 30, faced Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday for sentencing for one count each of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported drugs.

The two men entered a freight yard at the Port of Brisbane at 4.10am on June 12, 2020 after spotting a particular shipping container during their previous surveillance runs.

Justice Michael Copley said one or both the men opened the panels of the container’s refrigeration unit expecting to find a substantial amount of cocaine.

“Your involvement in this offending was due to giving in to the temptation of greed ,” Justice Copley said.

Jordan Brennan (file image)
Jordan Brennan was jailed for 11 years. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS)

The cocaine had been removed by police four months prior after workers at a dock in Belgium found 42 rectangular packages hidden in the container.

A jury returned guilty verdicts for both men on May 31 after deliberating for more than six hours following a brief trial.

Police had been tracking the men with listening and GPS devices as they drove a van from their Gold Coast homes to the Port of Brisbane multiple times in June 2020.

The jury heard audio from the van with the men discussing a large payment and plans to bury the cocaine in isolated bushland.

The audio also captured the men celebrating when they found the container by listening to the songs ‘Circles’ by Post Malone and ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child.

Crown prosecutor Patrick Wilson said the men had been determined to work as a key element in the illegal drug supply chain and had demonstrated no remorse.

“It’s clear they were doing something for a substantial financial reward in return for their involvement … they plainly knew the drugs were going to be commercially exploited by others,” Mr Wilson said.

Defence barrister Josh Underwood said Sipple had overcome a difficult childhood to start a business supplying subcontractors to the building industry.

“He is honest and hardworking … and this offending was out of character for him,” Mr Underwood said.

Barrister Mitchell Rawlings said Brennan had a great deal of motivation to rehabilitate himself and had started a courier business.

“He had sporadic but concerning contact with authorities during his early life but that has settled down now,” Mr Rawlings said.

Justice Copley said he had to impose a sentence that would deter the defendants and others from attempting to chase “easy money” from serious drug offending.

“Neither of you had any compunction about the effects this cocaine would have on individual or the community,” Justice Copley said.

Sipple was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of six-and-a-half years.

Brennan was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years due to spending two years on remand.

Both men waved and blew kisses to their partners, family and supporters in court as they were taken back into custody.