An ice trafficker, who moved millions of dollars worth of drugs and cash between Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay has had his jail term slashed. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily
An ice trafficker, who moved millions of dollars worth of drugs and cash between Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay has had his jail term slashed. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Prolific drug trafficker’s 10-year jail term slashed

A convicted ice trafficker who couriered up to $17m worth of drugs and cash between Sydney, Brisbane and Mackay as part of a major crime syndicate has had his 10-year jail term slashed.

The man referred to as TAS successfully fought the decade-long sentence, which would have resulted in a mandatory eight years behind bars before he could apply for parole.

Now he will be eligible for parole after serving six years.

Dubbed a "trusted courier" and the "right-hand man" to the syndicate's Queensland crime boss known as N, TAS moved between $12m and $17m worth of ice between December 2013 and August 2017 when he was arrested.

He would travel to Sydney to deliver money and pick up drugs, typically carrying between $200,000 and $400,000 cash provided by N.

He told police he did this about 20 times delivering about $5m cash - three times he hired a car and drove back into Queensland with the drugs.

TAS estimated he couriered between $5m and $10m of drugs and cash between Mackay and Brisbane December 2013 and August 2017.
TAS estimated he couriered between $5m and $10m of drugs and cash between Mackay and Brisbane December 2013 and August 2017.

 

TAS moved drugs for two supply lines - one for a Mackay-based man named C, and the other a Brisbane-based restaurateur referred to as W whose venue was used as a "cash exchange hub" for the syndicate.

A Court of Appeal document revealed TAS began trafficking for N to C in Mackay between 2008 and 2011, but he was granted indemnity against prosecution for that offending because of his co-operation.

He started pushing again into the Mackay region in late 2013.

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"N provided him with a BlackBerry phone and instructed him to use encrypted email and the Wickr application in his work," Appeals Court Justice Philip McMurdo said in a recent judgment.

TAS, who cannot be named for legal reasons, "estimated that he delivered approximately 25 to 30 kilograms of methylamphetamine to C" in the just more than 3.5 year time frame.

"On each occasion, he obtained the drugs from N or another person in Brisbane and took them home so that he could securely pack them and hide them in various parts of the car to be used for the trip to Mackay," Justice McMurdo said.

Tas said he couriered about 25 to 30 kilograms of methylamphetamine to his Mackay contact in the 3.5 year time frame.
Tas said he couriered about 25 to 30 kilograms of methylamphetamine to his Mackay contact in the 3.5 year time frame.

 

"Once there, he handed the drugs to C, who handed him a sum of cash to be taken to N.

"On each occasion, he returned to Brisbane with cash, on average, of the order of $200,000."

TAS "estimated that over this period of trafficking, he carried $5m to $10m in cash".

He was paid between $2000 and $4000 per delivery.

"C also purchased cannabis from N. (TAS) made three deliveries of cannabis, totalling 22.6 kilograms, which cost C $150,000," Justice McMurdo said.

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The court document revealed TAS's trafficking involved "deliveries of between $12m and $17m as payment for drugs, and between 35 and 44 kilograms of (ice) … to C and W" and was purely for financial benefit - "he was not a drug user".

He only stopped when he was arrested on August 1, 2017 after police were tipped off that a certain car was transporting a large amount of drugs through Rockhampton.

TAS, aged 33 to 36 during the offending period, pleaded guilty to trafficking for a criminal organisation and but for his co-operation would have received 20 years.

"In particular, there was the information which the applicant provided about his couriering drug money and drugs to and from Sydney, and his dealings with W," Justice McMurdo said.

The man, aged 33 to 36, also sold about 22.6 kilograms of marijuana to C in Mackay.
The man, aged 33 to 36, also sold about 22.6 kilograms of marijuana to C in Mackay.

 

It was accepted these were admissions entitling him to "special leniency" and so he was sentenced to 10 years jail, which comes with a mandatory serious violence offender declaration - meaning he must serve 80 per cent of the term before he can apply for parole.

TAS argued against the penalty on four grounds, three of which the Court of Appeal tossed out.

The fourth basis was in relation to Mackay-based C, who was sentenced by another judge and received 21 years jail with parole eligibility after 18.2 years, reduced because of co-operation to nine years with eligibility after 4.5 years.

C trafficked for 10 years, between 2008 and his arrest in February 2018.

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"He trafficked in wholesale amounts of amphetamine, methylamphetamine and cannabis. His supplier was N," Justice McMurdo said.

"C bought approximately 56 to 64 kilograms of amphetamine, at a total cost of $15.68m to $17m.

"Between 2014 and 2017, he bought 30 to 36 kilograms of methylamphetamine, at a cost of $5.4m to $6.48m.

"And over his trafficking period, he purchased 410 pounds of cannabis at a cost of $1.23m."

TAS and C were both sentenced with the same co-operation leniency in relation to past and future co-operation.

"C provided a number of statements in relation to the roles and activities of members of the syndicate, including N, M and (TAS)," Justice McMurdo said.

TAS trafficked ice purely for financial benefit, he was not a drug user.
TAS trafficked ice purely for financial benefit, he was not a drug user.

 

"C's criminality was greater than of (TAS).

"In the present case, the trafficking was as a trusted courier, and the period of trafficking, although lengthy, was not even half that in C's case."

Justice McMurdo said "undoubtedly" TAS and C worked for the same drug syndicate and the parity principle recognised there should not be a marked disparity that would give rise to a "justifiable sense of grievance".

"Particularly when the criminality of C was greater than that of the present applicant, there is a marked disparity between the outcomes," Justice McMurdo said.

"C might serve four and half years compared with eight years in the applicant's case."

Justice McMurdo found TAS's penalty must be reduced.

"Not because of any error made by the sentencing judge, but to avoid an unacceptable disparity with the sentence subsequently imposed upon a co-offender whose offending was more serious," Justice McMurdo said.

TAS's penalty was reduced to nine years with parole eligibility after serving six on June 10, 2025.

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