A MAN has walked from court and another remains behind bars after police uncovered a $71,000 cash stash and a bag of the drug ice hidden in a people-mover in Tamworth.
Ali Goulzari Anvar, now 28, fronted Tamworth District Court in person for sentencing while one of his three co-accused, Daniel Lee Connors, now 41, appeared via video link from Shortland Correctional Centre.
Both had pleaded guilty to knowingly taking part in the supply of 139g of the drug ice, while Anvar's sentence also took into account a charge of dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Judge Andrew Coleman said documents were "perhaps unsatisfactory" when it came to laying bare the details of the pair's involvement and what their roles were.
There was an air of confusion about how four people - two of which remain before the courts - ended up at a rented Toyota Tarago together outside a Tamworth pub with the cash and drugs inside.
The court heard evidence from Connors during the sentencing hearing, which did the opposite of clear the waters, Judge Coleman said.
"I must say I am completely confused by the whole thing," Judge Coleman said.
"The plain fact is that each of the offenders have pleaded guilty."
Crown prosecutor Madeleine Mulvaney submitted that though it may be hard to determine the hierarchy, the two co-offenders facing sentencing were both there at the time and were both "active".
"It wouldn't be appropriate to divvy the drugs up, or the cash found in the car," she said.
Connors told the court he travelled from Inverell to Tamworth with Anvar and another co-accused in March last year because he was unlicenced and did not trust the co-accused with his ute.
The court heard Connors' claimed his role in the supply of the drugs was limited to providing the ute for the co-accused, who was coming to Tamworth to buy drugs.
During the journey he became aware his driving co-accused intended to buy drugs, and he withdrew $800 in the hope he could "score a better deal" while down in Tamworth.
He ended up in the Tarago after an argument broke out with the co-accused, the court heard, but said he didn't know there were drugs hidden in the dashboard until police searched it.
He said he had two mobile phones on him at the time because one of them had a dodgy battery.
The court heard Anvar, an Iranian who had fled to Australia more than a decade ago, was seated in the back of the Tarago when police searched it before midnight on March 22 last year.
He was seen trying to kick a football sock stuffed with $50 notes under the seat, while two mobile phones and a notepad with names and details in it were found inside a "man bag satchel" around his neck.
Police had noticed the car stopped in Aberdeen Street and questioned the passengers before searching it.
They arrested four people after discovering 139g of the drug ice stuffed inside the dashboard.
The search also revealed wads of cash in different parts of the car totalling $71,000. Seven mobile phones were also found.
The court heard Connors was skilled in making Aboriginal artefact props for films, while Anvar was a house painter.
Public defender Stuart Bouveng handed up a specialist report detailing difficult life circumstances Connors had faced.
Connors told the court he had been looking at rehabilitation programs and further study upon his release from jail.
Anvar's defence barrister Carolyn Davenport handed up references, a letter of apology and a specialist report indicating Anvar had struggled with addictions and his mental health.
She said he had experienced hardship as a child in Iran and continued to face issues in Australia.
Judge Coleman sentenced Anvar to a custodial sentence to be served in the community for one-year-and-eight-months.
He was also hit with a booze ban, must not take drugs and must do 100 hours of community service.
Connors, who is already behind bars on separate drug charges after he turned to ice again while on bail late last year, was sentenced to two-years-and-three-months in prison.
With time served, he could be released on parole on these charges in January next year.
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