A Canadian electronic producer is facing a prison sentence after he attempted to smuggle cocaine into Sydney.
As Fairfax report, Jordan Mykel Gardner attempted to smuggle 4.6kgs of cocaine into the country, acting as a courier for former Vice editor Slava Pastuk.
Gardner was among five mules that were recruited for the trip by Pastuk. They were arrested in December 2015 with a large stash of cocaine allegedly discovered in the lining of their suitcases.
The producer told the NSW District Court on Friday that he and Patsuk were housemates at the time and while he repeatedly refused to carry out the trip for him he eventually caved after relentless pressure.
Gardner’s barrister Hament Dhanji told the court that Gardner was about to step on stage to do a show for sporting brand Puma and Pastuk called multiple times. He thought something may be wrong and reportedly said yes just to get him off the phone.
He tried to pull out after that but the safety of his friends and family was already threatened. After he met the syndicate, during a stop-over on the way to Sydney, he had a gun pulled on him when he tried to back out. He was going to receive $10,000 for the job.
Dhanji is arguing for a reduced sentence on the basis that he did it out of fear rather than for the money.
ABC reports, however, prosecutor Dimitrios Kapeleris said that despite the fact the smugglers were “drug mules”, it should not lessen the length of their sentance.
Earlier this year, National Post reported that three current or former Vice journalists were approached by Pastuk to carry out the job, however, they did not accept the offer.
In February, friends and family started a petition to free Gardner from prison, saying that he was “violently threatened” into smuggling the drugs. The petition collected 1,267 signatures.