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Cocaine trafficking network of poker and blackjack team

17/2/2011
The ongoing investigation being carried out by the Australian Federal Police has revealed an international cocaine trafficking network, the accused including professional poker and blackjack players.

A consortium of professional poker players have already been formally charged with trafficking cocaine at Melbourne magistrates. David ‘Zanderfish’ Saab, 37; Robert ‘remo_04’ Reemeus, and Darren Hughes remain in custody and have not applied for bail. They have so far declined to talk to investigators and remained silent during their hearing.

The group attempted to smuggle 21 kilograms of cocaine into Australian on January 17th, but Customs and Border Protection Officers intercepted a sea cargo shipment when it arrived in Sydney from Vancouver. Officers found the cocaine hidden in machinery parts, and allowed suspects to collect their packages before making the arrests.

Saab has lifetime winnings of just over $500,000, ranking 1,368th on the all time money list. He doesn’t come close to approaching some of the fortunes of the top poker professionals, and the vast majority of his money came from two 2008 tournaments. He won the $2,500 no limit hold’em event on the Manila leg of the Asian Poker Tour. He also got far in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 46th for $135,000. His online game is less profitable; statistics indicate he has lost over $75,000 in cash games since 2008 on PokerStars.

Reemeus enjoyed moderate success at a variety on online sites, including Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Cake Poker. Most of that came from his first place finish in Full Tilt’s $75,000 guaranteed for $39,015. All three men are members of a team of poker players called “The SAAB Squad” whose mission statement is to “[Travel] the globe in search of success on the felt”.

If convicted, they could face up to 25 years in a maximum security prison.

Richard Berry
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