A 60-YEAR-OLD man who continued a two and a half year drug trafficking operation from behind bars until he was ripped off by his associate has been sentenced to nine years jail.
Richard Andrew Wark pleaded guilty to a string of drug offences in the Bundaberg Supreme Court on Tuesday including trafficking cannabis and methamphetamine, possessing dangerous drugs and cash thought to be the proceeds of crime.
Crown prosecutor Greg Cummings told the court Wark ran the operation which mostly involved cannabis, but also dabbled in methamphetamine and cocaine from a rural rental property on Avondale Rd.
He said police executed a search on the property on August 1, 2011 where they uncovered a 9.4kg of cannabis, including 13 Cryovac sealed bags in an unused washing machine and $20,100 in cash.
After being released on bail, Mr Cummings said Wark showed "persistence" and when police returned to search the property on August 19, 2011, they found smaller amounts of drugs and a further $17,400 in cash.
Wark had his bail revoked and Mr Cummings said Wark continued to communicate with two main associates from jail. "He instructed (his associates) to collect money, pay for drugs and clear debts," Mr Cummings said.
The crown told the court between the money now known to have been on the property and the cash and drugs police located, the amount totalled $194,000.
But defence barrister QC Carl Heaton said while Wark had trafficked significant amount of cannabis, it was for himself and a select group of about 10 people he had considered friends.
"The profits were comparatively moderate," he said.
He said Wark was a "bushie" who was unable to hold a permanent job after sustaining a back injury and a significant amount of the money was his life savings earned from doing cash jobs and the sale of a tractor.
The defence said after his arrest, Wark had instructed his associate where to find $70,000 on his property but only about $2500 was put into his prison bank account and he wasn't masterminding an elaborate operation.
"There was no sophisticated coded communication," he said.
"It was his misguided attempt to put (his associates) in touch with the people who had provided drugs so they could continue to have access to the drugs they wanted to consume."
Justice Duncan McMeekin said while it was hard to determine how much Wark profited from the activities, he believed it was at least in the tens of thousands and could had been in the hundreds of thousands.
He sentenced Wark to nine years jail with parole after serving three and a half.
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