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Twist in drug charge case as cocaine haul worth over $150 million found on border

Former NRL player Jamil Hopoate’s bail application for his alleged role in the importation of 514kg of cocaine has been delayed after he was found with a “neutral substance”, the Canberra Times has reported.

The former Brisbane Broncos forward was wearing a hi-vis vest and carrying a backpack as he removed eight slabs from a van in Botany back in May.

Leanne Mafoa was then told to drive quickly following an attempted police stop, before the 26-year-old ran away, throwing the backpack away before being arrested, the NSW Supreme Court was told on Thursday.

Both Hopoate and Mafoa had no personal ID or mobile phones, which showed knowledge of the crime, prosecutor David Laird said.

However, the bag was said to be full of bricks of a completely “neutral substance,” with no traceable drug element found, the court was told.

Australian Border Force officers swooped on more than half a tonne of cocaine hidden in toolboxes which arrived in Sydney days earlier, which were valued at almost $155 million.

Hopoate still faces sentencing in July for three counts of common assault, two of stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical harm, one charge of mid-range drink driving, and driving on a suspended licence.

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