Ben Pappas To Be Sentenced For Importing Cocaine

A former World Skateboarding Champion, charged with importing cocaine, has told the Melbourne County Court he brought the drug into the country because he had difficulty in buying it on the streets in Australia.

Ben Pappas, 21, of the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin, will be sentenced next week.

Pappas was found at Melbourne Airport in June this year with about 100 grams of cocaine concealed in his shoes.

He told the court he began using marijuana at 13 years old, first tried cocaine at 15 and by the time he was 18 it had become part of his diet.

He said the drug was easily obtained in the United States where he spent 10 months of the year, but said all he could buy on the streets in Australia was heroin, which he was not interested in.

The court was told Pappas was an exceptionally talented skateboarder and began travelling to the United States from the age of 14, largely unsupervised, with his older brother, Tas.

At one stage the pair was ranked one and two in the world.