A HOMELESS man from Tamworth caught supplying drugs more than 40 times has been jailed for five years.
But after already serving more than two years behind bars, David John Byrnes is already on parole.
The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to supplying methamphetamine and the ongoing supply of the same drug and fronted a sentencing hearing in Armidale District Court.
Byrnes was caught in a police sting by Oxley detectives. Strike Force Orison was set up in late 2015 to home in on the supply of methamphetamine in the Tamworth, Gunnedah and Narrabri areas.
At the time of his arrest in January 2017, Byrnes was homeless and living in his ute, and drug dealing from there.
He came under the notice of police, was captured on police surveillance discussing the sale of drugs and guns, and then carried out those sales.
During the operation, several small purchases of the drug methamphetamine were carried out as police watched on between October 5 and November 2, 2016. During that time, Byrnes supplied a prohibited drug on five separate occasions.
But that number ramped up. Byrnes then supplied methamphetamine on 41 separate occasions, the facts before the court revealed.
"The purity of the drug was consistently high throughout all sales, even though Byrnes was a street-level dealer," Judge Jeffery McLennan said.
In late October of the same year, Byrnes was also caught arranging for a .9mm calibre handgun.
"The conditional arrangement concerning the pistol did not confirm that Byrnes had a pistol, but he was certainly recorded being involved in arranging the sale of a pistol," Judge McLennan said.
In sentencing, Judge McLennan said Byrnes had an entrenched attitude against authority.
He said Byrnes had suffered in his childhood and is severely dyslexic, which had affected his education. The death of his young daughter had greatly contributed to his "out of control" methamphetamine use, the court heard.
"He is unrealistic about his drug use, and is likely to relapse," Judge McLennan said.
Byrnes was jailed for an aggregate term of five years, backdated to his January 2017 arrest.
He was sentenced to a minimum of two years and seven months behind bars.
"It is up to the offender to access professional help," Judge McLennan said.
Byrnes was given a 25 per cent discount for his early guilty pleas.
Judge McLennan said he found special circumstances in the case because of Byrnes' background and upbringing.