The Australian newspaper is reporting that Saab, 37, of Balwyn North, will serve at least 10 years behind bars for importing 14.6kg of cocaine with a street value of between $6.5 million and $8.5 million in January this year.
His two co-accused, Darren Francis Hughes, 27, of Kew, and Robert Alan Remeeus, 28, of Vermont South, have each been sentenced to eight years in jail with a five-year minimum term.
The drugs were imported to Australia from Canada concealed in agricultural equipment. The shipment arrived in Sydney on January 17 and was tracked to its Melbourne destination, where the three Melbourne-based men were arrested and charged with importing and possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine.
All three pleaded guilty, but Victorian County Court Judge Liz Gaynor sentenced Saab for his role as the key organiser.
“It is clear that you were the principal organiser in Australia of this importation and would derive the most benefit from it,” Judge Gaynor said.
She said Hughes and Remeeus were both intelligent and from good families but were vulnerable to the influence of Saab, whom they met through playing poker.
Well known in the Australian poker community, Saab won the 2007 Australian Heads-up Championship and the inaugural Asian Poker Tour event in the Philippines three years ago.