Australian Underworld Caught Smuggling Cocaine in Xerox Copiers.

Gatto's son-in-law guilty of attempting to smuggle Mexican cocaine in Xerox copiers

Mick Gatto's son-in-law has been found guilty of attempting to possess more than 22 kilograms of cocaine imported from Mexico, hidden in the paper trays of Xerox printers.

Danny Awad, 41, is married to Sarah Gatto, the underworld figure's daughter.

On Thursday, a County Court jury found him and another man, John Tambakakis, 35, guilty of their involvement in the May 2017 drug importation racket, after Customs detected 10 blocks of cocaine with a street value of up to $12.4 million hidden inside five printers.

The prosecution also revealed that while Awad was under police surveillance, he was seen meeting drug kingpin Tony Mobkel’s brother, Horty Mokbel, at Fleming Park in Brunswick East.

Police noted that they walked around the park together talking, but the details of their meeting were not revealed.

Court documents show Awad's business partner Tambakakis hatched a plan to use an Airport West warehouse he had rented under an alias to “facilitate the trafficking of cocaine, imported from Mexico”.

The cocaine, hidden in a consignment of Xerox printers, was scheduled to be delivered by DHL, but was instead intercepted by customs officers, who called in the police.

Court documents show Awad, who also goes by the name Danny Gatto, “kept abreast” of the shipment's proposed delivery time, checking in on its progress with DHL.

Undercover police attached to the Trident Taskforce switched the drugs then delivered the printers to the intended address – an auto-care business in Charles Street, Coburg North – before Tambakakis moved the shipment to his Campbellfield skip hire business, GT Skips, on May 8.

Police said the printers were then moved using a rented Budget truck and Kia van to various other locations across Melbourne’s north over the next two days.

“Once the consignment was in the [Airport West] warehouse, Awad and Tambakakis used an electronic scanner in an attempt to discover any surveillance devices hidden in the consignment. Awad had with him a vacuum sealer and plastic bags, to be used to repackage the cocaine,” the prosecution openings read.

“Once they unpacked one of the printers and realised the cocaine had been seized, Awad and Tambakakis drove from the warehouse and dumped the van which had transported the consignment.”

Police said the men had custody and control over the products from the coordination of the delivery through to police searching the warehouse.

In that process, they were attempting to gain possession of the cocaine.

DHL's online package tracking system recorded about 85 searches made regarding the arrival of the printers from Mexico.

Photographs taken by the Australian Federal Police show bricks of cocaine wrapped in brown paper wedged in the printer paper trays.

Awad is a director of the State Owners Corporation, a common property management company, where his wife, Sarah, remains managing director. The pair married in 2016.

The 41-year-old is also a co-owner of Tambakakis’ company GT Skips, based in Patrick Street, Campbellfield.

Outside court, a large contingent of Awad and Tambakakis' supporters wailed and sobbed upon learning the men faced substantial time behind bars.

The pair will return to court in November for a plea hearing. — (The Age)