A TAMWORTH woman and a man have been sentenced to at least 12 months in prison for their part in a cannabis and ice syndicate, while two others escaped with suspended sentences.
The Tamworth District Court was told 25-year-old Kaya Richmond was the leader of the syndicate, which supplied cannabis in and around Tamworth, while her de facto, Nicholas Dobson, 27, also supplied methamphetamine.
Kaya’s sister, 23-year-old Meg Richmond, housed the cannabis at her Werris Creek home with her partner, 26-year-old Brendan Reid, who were caught up in dealing with the proceeds of crime.
All four were arrested on October 18 last year after a four-month investigation into the supply of drugs in Tamworth.
Less than two weeks earlier, detectives attached to Strike Force Coomalie swooped on Kaya’s house in Tamworth, as well as Meg’s home in Werris Creek, as part of raids on October 5.
During the search police found about six pounds of cannabis, while more than $16,000 in cash was also seized from a drawer.
Anabolic steroids, as well as ecstasy tablets and an amount of drug paraphernalia and further cash, were also seized. The court heard Kaya was the leader, storing the drug at her sister’shouse to shield it from her young daughter.
While Dobson sold methylamphetamine and also helped himself to some of the cannabis, Meg and Brendan kept the drugs and money in their house.
Dobson pleaded guilty to supplying a prohibited drug, namely methylamphetamine not less than an indictable quantity.
Dobson, a fully-qualified diesel mechanic, told the court he was dealing about $500 worth of speed a week.
“Enough to cover what I was using and enough to cover the next lot,” Dobson said.
Meg Richmond pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis not less than an indictable quantity and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Reid pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly take part in the supply of a prohibited drug namely cannabis.
All four offenders had other offences which were taken into account in the sentencing by Judge Robert Toner.
Dobson’s barrister John Carty acknowledged that his client was a dealer but argued he gave up dealing before police pounced.
“His voluntary cessation that he gave up before we was caught,” he said.
Mr Carty said Dobson asked the co-offender, Kaya Richmond, to stop dealing before he went on a trip to Las Vegas in September last year.
“He does have genuine remorse,” Mr Carty told the court.
“I accept he is remorseful,” Judge Toner said.
“I accept he has taken responsibilities for his actions.”
But Crown Prosecutor Mark Ferguson argued despite Dobson knowing the dangers drugs could do to the community, he continued to deal until the end of August.
“He was still content to put it out there,” Mr Ferguson said.
“He had some understanding of the harm it could do.”
Judge Toner detailed how Dobson would buy a quarter of an ounce of methylamphetamine, sell half and keep half for himself.
“He acknowledged the dangers of the dissemination of drugs,” Judge Toner said.
“He voluntarily stopped dealing in drugs. This is, in fact, a sad case.
“He is a tradesman, diesel mechanic ... high demand in this country.
“He was substantially involved in his enterprise ... he was a sole trader.”
Judge Toner said despite the facts of the case, Dobson had made thousands from selling drugs.
“At least $8000 of it was the proceeds of selling drugs,” Judge Toner said.
“The value of his drug dealing was significantly in excess of $8000.”
Dobson was sentenced to 20 months in prison with a non-parole period of
12 months dating back to his arrest for both offences, to be served concurrently.
He’ll be eligible for release mid-October.
The court’s attention soon turned to new mother Meg Richmond, a straight-A student who loved school and had worked her way to becoming second-in-charge of a local bank branch.
She spent about six weeks in prison before applying for bail when she knew she was pregnant and has since given birth.
Judge Toner said he found it particularly difficult to sentence Meg, saying it was a tragedy “of her own making.”
“These crimes represent a mighty fall for her,” he said.
Judge Toner said it was clear Meg expressed a deep well of gratitude to her sister who was a carer when she was younger, growing up in a home riddled with alcohol and drugs.
“In that context ... Kaya Richmond became a malign influence, a malign force,” he said.
“Without her sister’s involvement ... Meg Richmond would not be involved in criminal behaviour full stop.”
Meg received a 12-month suspended sentence and will remain on a good behaviour bond for one year as part of the sentence for two offences.
The court was told Reid’s involvement in the syndicate was relatively minor and he was given a 12-month suspended sentence .
“Seems to be largely peripheral...on some occasions an active participant,” Judge Toner said.
The 26-year-old, who works for a local chicken company, was given a 12 month suspended sentence, commencing yesterday ((FRI)) for knowingly taking part in the supply of a prohibited drug.