United Kingdom

Mother, 87, of fugitive who vanished while on bail over drug smuggling

The elderly mother of a fugitive who fled while on bail over an elaborate drug smuggling plot has begged authorities to find her son and lock him up.

Jim Soukoulis, 54, vanished in November last year while facing charges over his alleged involvement in a scheme to fly 250kg of ice from California to Australia in a light plane.

His mother Georgia Soukoulis's $600,000 home in Adelaide was used as surety on his bail application and will be seized by authorities if he doesn't turn himself in.

The 87-year-old, who struggles with English and can barely walk, broke down when she was told her home could legally be confiscated if her son remained at large. 

Jim Soukoulis, 54, ran from authorities in November last year while facing charges over his alleged involvement in a scheme to fly 250kg of ice from California to Australia in a light plane

'I have worked my whole life for this home,' she told the Herald Sun.

'I am an old lady. I never touched anyone. I don't know why they (sic) take my home. This home was for my last life. I have nothing else.' 

Mrs Soukoulis bought the colonial three-bedroom home after immigrating from Greece 60 years ago.

Her husband, who has since died, was injured in a car accident and did not work, leaving the mother-of-two to purchase the home on a single income.

The distraught woman said she had sleepless nights worrying whether her son was still alive, but begged police to 'shoot me first' before taking her home.

CCTV footage (pictured) showed the alleged drug smuggler was at his apartment in South Melbourne on November 12 at 7.36am - it was the last time he reported to police, as per his bail conditions

Soukoulis and two others were charged over their alleged role in a drug trafficking ring in 2017 after ingredients used to make methamphetamine were found by authorities in California.

The trio allegedly planned to smuggle the chemicals into Australia in a light plane that was bought in the US.   

Bail for Soukoulis was set at $900,000 - one third was posted by a friend, and the rest against his mother's home - prior to his court date in April this year. 

CCTV footage showed the alleged drug smuggler was at his apartment in South Melbourne on November 12 at 7.36am - it was the last time he reported to police, as per his bail conditions. 

The trio allegedly planned to smuggle the chemicals into Australia in a light plane that was bought in the US (pictured)

Inside the plane that was allegedly going to be used to smuggle the drugs into Australia

A trial was held on January 30 as prosecutors attempted to claim the money, the ABC previously reported.

He did not answer calls and texts from his girlfriend and was reported as a missing person, but it was later discovered Soukoulis withdrew more than $8,100 from an ATM in South Melbourne over multiple transactions before he vanished. 

Australian Federal Police have been probing his family and friends trying to hunt him down. 

Police previously stated they believed his attempt to flee was planned.

The AFP allege the men, including the elderly registered pilot, tried to import the drug from California

Judge Martine Marich said there was enough evidence to suggest he had intentionally breached his bail conditions and the bail money should be surrendered to prosecutors.

But the judge gave Mrs Soukoulis an extra six months to make alternative living arrangements if her son didn't hand himself to police, or for the family to argue that the situation was 'unjust'.  

The application to seize the elderly woman's home will appear before the County Court of Victoria on July 15.

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