THE final link in Sydney's extravagant "Golden Gun'' cocaine syndicate cut a forlorn figure in the courtroom. A long way from the Versace-dappled luxury that characterised the lifestyles of the drug ring's chiefs, a former swimming-pool finisher faced sentencing in the District Court for handling the racket's ill-gotten gains. Louie Pucariello, an Italian-born, 58-year-old former body builder, was caught with a suitcase and backpack stuffed with over $1.5 million in cash when police raided his Moorebank house in March 2007. In the kitchen, officers found more than 300g of cocaine hidden in a Kraft Easy Mac macaroni and cheese packet that was sitting in the pantry, according to court documents. Police had earlier intercepted a phone call between Pucariello and Luke Sparos, 30, who the court heard rented jet-ski space on the Georges River property. Pucariello also attended the lavish wedding of Alen Moradian, 37, dubbed the Tony Soprano of the cocaine circuit by his new wife Natasha. Moradian's palatial West Pennant Hills mansion boasted Vesace-branded fittings from the bedspreads to the furniture. The two young men were the kingpins of a major cocaine-importation syndicate that was named after a gold-plated Magnum handgun seized during a massive police bust five years ago. A dozen people have now been sentenced for their roles in the gang, including 15- and 16-year jail terms for leaders Sparos and Moradian. The court heard Pucariello was "a bad judge of character'' whose life shared little of the opulence the major players enjoyed. His partner of 21 years described him as a "vain man'', who would flex in the mirror and joke "is this an arm or a leg?'' before injuries and illness wrecked his health. "(Now) he's been known to leave phones and remote controls in other peoples houses he takes them with him as a security blanket,'' she said. Judge Andrew Haesler accepted Pucariello was only small player in the drug syndicate, but said he played a "crucial'' role in hiding others' wrongdoing. "Without people low on the hierarchy, the whole (drug operation) collapses,'' he said. Pucariello was sentenced to a minimum one year and nine months in jail.
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