Police in Australia ruined their entire case after they swapped a shipment of cocaine due to be delivered to a suspected drug trafficker with powdered sugar. Nathan John Ralph was acquitted of the charges against him given that when police arrested him, the suspect was in possession of sugar, not cocaine, and that’s certainly not a crime. Oops?
Ralph was first arrested in 2019. At that point, Australian Border Force officers spotted an “anomaly” in a package sent from the UK to his apartment in Adelaide, according to ABC. That package had a hollowed-out book inside that contained a plastic bag with 99 grams of cocaine in it.
The authorities’ clever plan was actually pretty dumb. Police decided the best way to snare Ralph would be to put powdered sugar in the package in lieu of the cocaine and then deliver the package to his apartment. When he picked it up, the police followed and arrested him.
Ralph obviously knew what was inside the package. When police followed him to Glen Osmond Market, he noticed he was being trailed and tried to hide the package in some bushes. However, the truth remains: he wasn’t in possession of drugs.
Police wanted to charge Ralph with one count of trafficking a controlled drug. However, he was acquitted being that he never had any contact with cocaine. “The package hidden was the plastic bag containing the icing sugar that had been swapped out for the cocaine,” Judge Timothy Heffernan wrote in a ruling at South Australia’s District Court. “On the seat of his [Ralph’s] truck police located the envelope and the hollowed-out novel.” Heffernan added that there was “no case to answer” given that Ralph could only be found guilty if he had “performed an act with respect to the actual substance.” Oops?
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