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Aldergrove man faces extradition for ‘E’ shipped inside video game

Authorities in Brisbane are prepared to pass sentence when 22-year-old is returned to Australia

A 22-year-old Aldergrove man is facing extradition to Australia to face sentencing for his alleged part in smuggling thousands of ecstasy pills inside a Playstation console in 2008.

According to Provincial Court documents, Tyson Saviro Santolla allegedly flew home to Canada last week, just before he was supposed to be sentenced in Brisbane, Australia.

Santolla, an Aldergrove Community Secondary grad (according to his Facebook page) was supposed to be sentenced in Brisbane last week in connection with drug smuggling allegations.

Santolla’s co-accused, Canadian Jonathan Ried, received a three-year jail sentence last week.

According to Richmond Provincial Court documents, the 22-year-old arrived at Vancouver International Airport where he was arrested on arrival.

He is accused of travelling on a passport that didn’t have his proper name and lying to immigration authorities. He remains in custody while officials in Australia file an extradition order in B.C. Supreme Court.

The courts there have issued a warrant for his arrest.

According to Gold, Santolla, Reid and a New Zealander were arrested in October, 2008, accused of smuggling 3,400 tablets of ecstasy inside a Sony PlayStation.

Customs officers in Sydney thwarted the smuggling attempt when they detected the tablets inside an old PlayStation machine and inside the cover of a PlayStation game.

The Australian Federal Police tracked the parcel to an address in Surfer’s Paradise where they arrested and charged three men.

The men face one count each of importing and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

All three were released on bail.

On May 11, Santolla wrote on his Facebook wall “Have to go in f*#k the feds got 3 weeks to 3 months out could be 2 week never know what the feds will pull gotta do 3 and a half years see you all when I get home lots of love from auzzy.”

Media reports indicate that in Reid’s sentencing last week, it emerged that police planted a listening device inside the Playstation. It recorded the young men whooping with excitement when they went to unpack the drugs.

The media report also said the judge who sentenced Reid accepted evidence that he didn’t know about the importation, but was a victim of the activities of others.

The Australian court issued an arrest warrant for Santolla when he failed to show up for sentencing. He’s scheduled to have a bail hearing in Richmond Provincial Court on July 31.

He is officially charged with illegally possessing documents to establish identity, using false documents to enter Canada and knowingly misrepresenting facts.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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