News State NSW News Ex-NRL player charged over 900kg cocaine haul after dramatic public arrest

Ex-NRL player charged over 900kg cocaine haul after dramatic public arrest

Aukuso Junior Paulo
Aukuso Junior Paulo is a former Parramatta Eels player. Photo: Supplied/ABC
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Serious additional charges for an alleged $360 million cocaine haul have been laid against former Parramatta Eels player Aukuso Junior Paulo and Kigi Kamuta, who were arrested in dramatic scenes in Sydney last week.

The two men were arrested alongside another former Eels player, Royce Hura, 27, in a police operation in Centennial Park where officers used stun grenades to subdue the men.

Large amounts of cash and two hand guns were found on the scene.

On Thursday the group were charged with the possession of two unauthorised semi-automatic pistols, $649,990 in cash alleged to have been the proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group.

Gun seized Centennial Park
One of the two firearms seized by Organised Crime Squad detectives following the arrest. Photo: NSW Police

Police arrested and charged a fourth man part of the same investigation on Friday.

Mr Paulo, 34, and Mr Kamuta, 39, are now also accused of supplying 900 kilograms of cocaine, with a potential street value of $360 million, according to police.

“These are significant and serious drug charges,” Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke of the NSW Police said.

“There are nine hundred kilograms of cocaine which will not reach the streets of Sydney.”

The extra charges, which were laid on Monday, took Mr Paulo’s lawyer by surprise on Tuesday in the Central Local court.

“It’s more regrettable that were were only informed of the new charge today,” defence lawyer Nick Hanna said.

Centennial Park arrest
Police arrested this man and used non-lethal projectiles on the car. Photo: Supplied/ABC

Mr Hanna withdrew a bail application he was to submit for his client.

The barrister for his fellow retired Eel’s player, whose charges were not upgraded, proceeded with Mr Hura’s bail application.

Barrister Arjun Chhabra said it could only be proven that Mr Hura was “merely the driver of the vehicle”.

Mr Hura was refused bail and all three men will remain in custody.

The cases will return to court in February.