Co­bram drug dealer jailed

The Cobram Courier - - ANZAC DAY 2018 - By Hay­den Thompson

A Co­bram man has been sen­tenced to four years and two months in prison for his role op­er­at­ing and lead­ing a drug syn­di­cate in the Co­bram area.

Eric Burgess, 42, of Wills St, Co­bram, was sen­tenced at the County Court in Shep­par­ton on Mon­day.

He faced charges of traf­fick­ing a com­mer­cial quan­tity of GHB, pos­sess­ing pro­ceeds of crime and traf­fick­ing cannabis, oxy­codone and metham­phetamine.

Judge Gerard Mul­laly summed up Burgess’ ac­tions by say­ing he ‘‘traded in a range of il­le­gal drugs’’.

‘‘You bought and se­cured sig­nif­i­cant amounts, you broke it down within smaller amounts,’’ he said.

The court heard Burgess fin­ished work­ing in 2013 and since then had paid to live through drug traf­fick­ing through six coac­cused, who acted on his be­half.

On Novem­ber 11, 2015, po­lice be­gan op­ti­cal sur­veil­lance on his home in Co­bram.

The pros­e­cu­tion case said a co-ac­cused sold ei­ther one or two pounds of cannabis to the ac­cused at a time, and in a six-month pe­riod he pur­chased at least $45 000 worth.

The court heard tele­phone in­ter­cepts also demon­strated the ac­cused was sourc­ing oxy­codone tablets from var­i­ous com­mu­nity mem­bers.

In June 2016, a search war­rant was ex­e­cuted at Burgess’ home and as po­lice at­tended, the ac­cused took two plas­tic soft drink bot­tles of GHB and tipped them down the kitchen sink.

Judge Mul­laly said it was dif­fi­cult to be pre­cise as to the quan­tity but said he was sat­is­fied it was not less than a com­mer­cial quan­tity.

‘‘Drugs cause havoc in com­mu­ni­ties. Your of­fend­ing was se­ri­ous and or­gan­ised,’’ he said.

‘‘It was your in­ten­tion to make profit. It is clear you were in the busi­ness of traf­fick­ing and made prof­its as a re­sult.’’

Judge Ryan sen­tenced Burgess to four years in prison with a min­i­mum non-pa­role pe­riod of two years and nine months.

The ac­cused, hav­ing al­ready served 685 days on re­mand, will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in less than a year.

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