News

Cops tap phones, bug shed to catch meth dealers

A FAILED hotel investment and a stressful job were blamed for two friends' dependency on methamphetamine.

Each used a gram of the drug every day, with Captain Creek man Deane Jerome Sanderson, 58, supplying methampetamine to Agnes Water man Matthew Raymond Fennell, 34, - who in turn on-supplied to his friends.

The pair came to the attention of police during a Taskforce Maxima operation targeting drugs in the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy area between August 2014 and March 2015.

Sanderson and Fennell were originally charged with trafficking but both pleaded guilty yesterday when those charges were reduced to supplying.

Sanderson pleaded guilty to 12 counts of supplying drugs, one count of possessing 11.27g of methamphetamine, of which 4.88g was pure, and producing 774g of marijuana.

He grew small crop of marijuana at a property near where he lived.

Fennell pleaded guilty to 13 counts of supplying dangerous drugs - methamphetamine and MDMA - and one count of possessing 3.1g of methamphetamine, of which 0.24g was pure.

During the police operation the pairs phone's were tapped and a surveillance device was placed in Fennell's shed.

Crown prosecutor Michael Lehane said the co-accused used subtle codes when they arranged to exchange drugs and spoke about "having a beer", "beers" or a "quick drink".

Sanderson's defence barrister Andrew Hoare said his client and wife and been in a serious car crash in 1999 which left his wife with an amputated leg.

The couple invested in a hotel in Mackay, which failed after the mining boom ended. They lost the hotel and are at risk of losing their home.

Mr Hoare said the business collapse was a catalyst for Sanderson's gram-a-day speed habit.

While Fennell, who had known Sanderson for a decade, found the responsibility and long hours of his construction job stressful. It caused problems at home and his drug use escalated.

His defence lawyer Catherine Morgan said Fennell made no profit from supplying drugs and would source his own and drugs for his friends from Sanderson as required.

Fennell will spend five months of his 20 month sentence behind bars while Sanderson was will serve seven months of a sentence of a 27-month jail term.

Topics:  buncourt, bundaberg supreme court, editors picks, meth, methamphetamine


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