Sentence summary: Trafficking (large commercial quantity)
The offender pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in a drug of dependence in a large commercial quantity. A resident of Hong Kong, he came to Australia for the specific purpose of manufacturing drugs. The sophisticated operation involved the re-crystallisation of methylamphetamine, a process he learned in Hong Kong before being provided with the airfare to Melbourne.
The judge found the offender played a significant role in a major drug enterprise. He had travelled specifically from Hong Kong for the purpose of manufacturing drugs, had manufactured drugs for three weeks before his arrest and was working for a significant financial reward (up to AUD$90,000). Almost 15 times what is deemed a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine was recovered (14.7 kilograms), the majority very pure. Adding to the seriousness of the offence was that the offender was undertaking his task in a residential apartment block, potentially exposing its occupants to dangerous fumes.
The judge took into account the offender’s guilty plea, which had saved the need for a trial. The judge also took account of the offender’s remorse and lack of prior convictions. Making imprisonment more difficult was the fact the 60-year-old offender spoke only Cantonese and had limited family in Australia, as well as a number of medical problems, including depression and anxiety.
Nevertheless, the judge said there was a need to deter others in the community from engaging in large scale drug offending. The judge said: ‘The pervasive availability of illegal drugs, the ease with which they can be produced or made available, the difficulty of detection, and the damage the drug trade wreaks in the community means that those who assist in the production or distribution of drugs at whatever level will be subject to serious punishment when apprehended.’
The judge said the offender’s conduct was to be utterly condemned and denounced.
The offender was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 7 years and 6 months.