Footage emerges of Jamil Hopoate's arrest in $155m cocaine bust

·2-min read
Jamil Hopoate, pictured here during his arrest.
NSW Police provided wild footage of Jamil Hopoate's arrest. Image: NSW Police

Troubled former NRL player Jamil Hopoate has been refused bail after being described as a person of "reasonable significance" in a plot to import more than half a tonne of cocaine.

Hopoate, 26, is accused of being part of a trio now charged over the massive haul of cocaine from the UK.

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Hopoate, the son of former Manly winger John Hopoate and brother of Canterbury star Will, was a talented junior but was sacked by Parramatta and Manly for off-field issues.

He played for Brisbane during the club's sub-par 2020 NRL campaign.

Police say Australian Border Force officers found 514kg of cocaine hidden in a consignment of toolboxes which arrived in Sydney on Saturday. 

The drugs had an estimated street value of almost $155 million.

When detectives stopped a van at Botany on Tuesday, the woman driver reversed at speed before Hopoate, the passenger, allegedly ran off and threw a backpack into a nearby yard.

Police gave chase on foot and arrested him a short distance away.

The 33-year-old northern beaches woman was also arrested before officers retrieved the backpack.

The woman was charged with commercial drug supply and using an offensive weapon in company to prevent detention.

Jamil Hopoate, pictured here at a Brisbane Broncos training session in 2020.
Jamil Hopoate at a Brisbane Broncos training session in 2020. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Jamil Hopoate refused bail over cocaine charges

Hopoate, from Dee Why, was taken to hospital for treatment to a minor leg injury before being charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of cocaine.

He appeared at Central Local Court on Wednesday afternoon, with several family members present. 

He was refused bail by magistrate Philip Stewart, with his matter to return to the same court on July 15.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Bennett on Wednesday told reporters that police weren't aware of Hopoate's identity when making the arrest.

Jamil Hopoate's family, pictured here at Sydney Local Court.
Jamil Hopoate's family at Sydney Local Court. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

"The investigation was intelligence-driven, we didn't know the identity of the people who came to pick the consignment up until it happened," Det Supt Bennett said.

"His role seemed to be as a person who was picking up a consignment.

"I'd say he was a person of reasonable significance."

Detectives later arrested a 28-year-old Minto man and charged him with supplying a large commercial quantity of cocaine.

Police will allege in court the man collected the consignment from Matraville and delivered it to Pagewood, before leaving the area.

Det Supt Bennett said all three accused were known to police.

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