Customs officer pleads guilty to importing drugs

A customs officer who worked at Sydney Airport has admitted his role in an alleged corruption ring, pleading guilty to drug importation and receiving bribes.

In Central Local Court on Wednesday, Paul John Katralis, 26, from Menai, pleaded guilty to three charges.

He admitted importing a commercial quantity of the drug precursor pseudoephedrine, receiving a bribe and abusing public office to gain advantage.

Katralis, who was arrested in August, was one of two customs officers charged by investigators in an anti-corruption taskforce, codenamed Marca, run by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and the Australian Federal Police.

In December, a Fairfax Media investigation, conducted in association with the ABC's 7.30 program, revealed an entrenched network of allegedly corrupt customs officers at Sydney Airport had been importing drugs with organised crime figures for years.

There are several people - including the other customs officer and a quarantine official - accused of being part of the alleged drug importation ring currently before Sydney courts.

Magistrate Les Mabbutt committed Katralis for sentence in the Downing Centre District Court, where the matter will be mentioned on Friday.

This story Customs officer pleads guilty to importing drugs first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.