Underworld figure George Marrogi takes trafficking charge ‘on chin’

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Underworld figure George Marrogi dragged his girlfriend into a plot to smuggle more than $50million worth of drugs into Australia while behind bars for murder, his lawyer has claimed.
Marrogi, 33, is serving a 32-year sentence in Barwon Prison for the Kadir Ors day murderwho was shot outside a Melbourne shopping center in 2016.
Marrogi, 33, is serving a 32-year sentence in Barwon Prison for the broad daylight murder of Kadir Ors. (New)

The man who procured the butanediol owed Marrogi $1.5 million and Mannella’s role was to help him collect the debt by getting the butanediol sold by others.

But their plan was foiled when the lorry was stopped by Victoria Police in Horsham on January 24, 2022, with just two out of four drums carrying butanediol.

Then, in February, the couple arranged to have 56kg of methamphetamine and 13kg of heroin flown to Melbourne from Thailand, disguised as 27 cans of green tea and magnets.

The Australian Federal Police estimated the drugs had a street value of $55 million.

Marrogi and Mannella pleaded guilty to two drug trafficking charges, one state and one commonwealth, and faced a pre-sentence hearing on Tuesday via video link from jail.

The drugs were concealed in a shipment of green tea and magnets from Thailand. (AFP)

The couple had communicated about their trafficking operations using a secret prison phone link that was diverted to Mannella from his lawyer’s office, the court heard.

Some of the calls were intercepted by authorities.

“Throughout these phone conversations, Marrogi was coordinating activities by giving instructions to Mannella, and others, who would then facilitate those instructions at Marrogi’s request,” prosecutor Samantha Holmes said.

She said the couple, who met through Marrogi’s late sister, Meshilin, used code words to discuss trafficking, including “fish” and “kittens”.

“How are the fish? Have they been to the aquarium or not yet? Marrogi asked Mannella, after the drugs arrived in Melbourne from Thailand.

Marrogi’s lawyer, Peter Morrissey SC, said his client took full responsibility for ‘dragging’ his girlfriend into the scheme and was ‘alone and stuck’ in a high-security cell for the offence.

“On this plea, George Marrogi wishes to take primary responsibility for this offence. He led the co-defendant, Mannella, in this offence,” he told the court.

Marrogi agreed he would receive a heavier sentence than Mannella, Morrissey said.

“He wishes to take that one on the chin,” Morrissey said.

He asked Judge Peter Rozen to hand down part of the sentence concurrent with his current prison sentence.

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Underworld figure George Marrogi takes trafficking charge ‘on chin’

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