9 December 2021

Woman charged with attempting to possess $4 million of meth granted bail

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

Priscilla Palombi, 39, has been granted bail after being arrested over a drug charge. Photo: Michelle Kroll Region Media

More detailed allegations have emerged in the case of a woman accused of attempting to possess what is estimated to be $4 million worth of drugs.

Priscilla Palombi, 39, is charged with attempting to possess 4.5 kg of methylamphetamine, which had allegedly been delivered from the US to a home in Bonner.

ACT Policing said the Australian Border Force intercepted the parcel and what is alleged to be drugs was replaced with an inert substance. The parcel’s delivery was tracked to the Bonner home on 17 November.

On Tuesday (7 December), prosecutor David Bloomfield told the ACT Magistrates Court that the 4.5 kg of methamphetamine was worth about $4 million.

He detailed allegations in the case, alleging that before the delivery, both Ms Palombi and her co-accused, 40-year-old real estate agent Gerardo Penna, talked in coded language, and after the consignment arrived she called Mr Penna, excited, and urged him to come over.

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The consignment was in the name of an old colleague of Ms Palombi’s, and after it arrived, she allegedly called this man but didn’t mention the package to him.

The material was reportedly transferred from the consignment to a backpack found in Ms Palombi’s car.

When police raided her house, they allegedly found messages on an encrypted app warning her of police surveillance.

Mr Bloomfield also said that when Mr Penna was arrested, he had all the equipment needed to turn the powder into methamphetamine.

Defence lawyer Ken Archer indicated his client, Ms Palombi, intended to plead not guilty to a charge of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported drug.

He applied for her to be released from bail as she has been held in custody after first appearing in court at the end of November, saying the grounds for opposition to bail were “threadbare”.

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Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter noted that after police raided Ms Palombi’s home, she was originally arrested then “unarrested” and had no prior criminal history.

Magistrate Hunger granted bail on strict conditions, including daily reporting to police in Gungahlin, a curfew and a $10,000 security posted by her mother. She must also pay $2000 if she fails to appear before the court. The matter was adjourned to 15 February 2022.

Mr Penna has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and trafficking in a controlled drug, charges he has indicated he will fight. He has been remanded in custody to appear in court on 13 January 2022.

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