Cocaine in golf buggy, court told
HIGH-PROFILE Ballina golfer and businessman Damien Webber has been charged by Australian Federal Police with the alleged million-dollar importation of cocaine found in the engine of a golf buggy seized by Australian Customs and Border Protection officers in Sydney.
Webber, 35, was arrested following a raid some dayslater on his East Ballina home, with Federal Police allegedly seizing more than $93,000 in cash and a small amount of cocaine and cannabis.
Webber appeared briefly before the Lismore Local Court on Monday accused of importing 3.28 kilograms of cocaine into Australia on January 3 concealed in the golf buggy engine.
He is charged with five drug-related offences: Importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug – 3.28 kg of cocaine; possession of cocaine (1.6 grams); possession of cannabis (73.3 grams); knowingly supplying cannabis (1 gram); and dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Webber is accused on January 15 of having in his possession $93,400, alleged by the AFP to be the proceeds of crime.
The money and small quantity of the drugs are alleged to have been found after the AFP executed a search warrant at his home on January 15.
When the matter was mentioned before Magistrate Robyn Denes, defence lawyer Vince Boss said his client had not yet been placed on bail in the matters by the AFP.
Mr Boss said that since being charged Webber had gone before the Crimes Commission in Sydney. He said his client recently sold a business, but all his funds had been confiscated so he was now without finances.
The case was adjourned until October to allow the Commonwealth Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to attend.
Webber is well-known in the Northern Rivers golfing community and spent 14 years as the professional at Mullumbimby Golf Club.
He has also worked with the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation in following his passion for promoting golf at grass roots level.
In his former role with the Mullumbimby club, the talented golfer sponsored the Webber's Week of Golf, with more than $16,000 in trophies, and hosted a successful Pro-Am and junior tournaments.
He is regarded as having introduced thousands of people to golf through adult education and junior clinics.
Webber was also awarded the AAA rating from the Australian Professional Golfers Association for attending seminars and successfully passing on subjects including golf tuition, golf science and junior development.
His work as the North Coast Junior PGA professional and development officer involved visiting schools and helping golf clubs attract and retain juniors.