An Elwood chiropractor has admitted that he smuggled $ 90 million worth of liquid cocaine from South Africa into bottles of wine into Australia, and his unsuspecting mother received the shipment.
Warren Brian Sipser, 44, has been in “loneliness and isolation” since his arrest on December 13, 2018, his attorney told the County Court of Victoria on Thursday.
He pleaded guilty to trying to import a commercial amount of cocaine and segregating cocaine ownership, as 43 grams was discovered by police raiding his home and car.
In a tight suit, he would occasionally wipe his tears on the video link from Barwon Prison during his hearing – especially when lawyers discussed his little sister becoming seriously ill and dying as a child.
The former school captain and rugby player grew up in a Jewish family in Johannesburg and moved to Australia around 1999, his lawyer Peter Morrissey told the court.
He said Sipser, whom he called a “businessman”, apologized to the court and felt ashamed after he had to give up his chiropractic center in a “fire sale” and lose friends.
“He’s had a pretty good life by the time he got into it,” said Morrissey.
“He made a contribution, he was a nerd, he was a good family man.”
He said it was clear that Sipser “knew he was part of a much larger criminal syndicate” when he imported the drug, the details of which were not disclosed in court.
The liquid cocaine was seized by the Australian Border Force after it entered Australia from Cape Town on June 26, 2018.
One of the 600 bottles was tested during the import and gave a positive result for cocaine. Forensic analysis revealed 343 bottles filled with a total of 120 kg of liquid cocaine, with an estimated street value of $ 90 million.
Border Force replaced the drug with a benign liquid and sent the bottles on their way.
Police claim Siper created a lead trying to provide “a cover story” for buying wine, with fake conversations and a fake transaction between two accounts on eBay.
In his conversations with the family, he also had an interest in becoming a wine merchant.
The first delivery address listed was a Mexican restaurant in Brighton, which Sipser denied any knowledge of.
He later called the courier and asked them to change the address to his chiropractic clinic in Elwood before it was delivered on July 6, 2018.
He left his mother, who had no idea that the bottles contained anything other than wine, to receive the delivery – while he was hiding at the Crown Casino and talking to the driver on the phone.
“He did not want to be present when a shipment was delivered that he knew contained cocaine,” said a police fact sheet.
Then he was “irritated” by his mother when she refused to leave the boxes on the sidewalk.
She did what he asked and then he drove his BMW to practice and spent two hours vaguely walking around keeping an eye on the boxes, police say.
Around 6 p.m. a white ute came and picked up the delivery.
The police rushed and arrested the two men in the ute. Your cases are still in court.
“It is believed that the program was intended for Sydney,” said the police facts.
Sipser “wriggled like a poor fish on a hook” when questioned by authorities, his lawyer said, but “there was no more of that” and he admitted what he had done.
He said Sipser got caught up in cocaine and believed he was in control but wasn’t.
“Undoubtedly, the real problem with cocaine use is that you feel like you are in control all the time,” said Morrissey.
“That’s the seductive nature of the drug.”
Sipser will be sentenced at a time to be determined.