DRUG RING IN COURT

Western Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jessica Gre­wal Jessica.Gre­wal@news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

TWO broth­ers who led a Cun­na­mulla-based drug ring have been sen­tenced for their part in traf­fick­ing meth and mar­i­juana across the south-west.

The group was ex­posed through a ma­jor po­lice op­er­a­tion in which phone calls be­tween the two men and their con­tacts were recorded over four months.

More than 20 peo­ple were ar­rested on 153 charges.

Bris­bane Supreme Court heard on Fri­day Dar­ren John Shillingsworth supplied mar­i­juana on a daily ba­sis over six months. The recorded calls re­vealed he had a cus­tomer base of be­tween 15-20 peo­ple.

De­fence bar­ris­ter Phil Hard­cas­tle said his client had been us­ing mar­i­juana since his late teens but still had a good work his­tory.

He said his client and wife suf­fered the loss of their nine-year-old child and his drug use wors­ened fol­low­ing the deaths of his par­ents.

Shillingsworth was sen­tenced to three years in jail. Be­cause of the amount of time he had al­ready spent be­hind bars, he was re­leased on im­me­di­ate pa­role.

His brother, Michael Shillingsworth, who supplied both mar­i­juana and the drug known as “ice”, to a sim­i­larly sized cus­tomer base, was sen­tenced ear­lier in the week to four and a half years in jail for drug and driv­ing of­fences. He will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in July.

The woman who supplied him with the ice was also due to be sen­tenced on Fri­day.

Mother-of-five Kath­leen Al­bertha Brown was said to have had a trou­bled up­bring­ing in Cun­na­mulla where she had turned to drugs to “block out abuse”.

The recorded calls re­vealed Brown had sold the meth to Shillingsworth over six months. Charleville Mag­is­trates Court pre­vi­ously heard Brown had “bragged” about sup­ply­ing to an­other seller in Thar­go­min­dah.

Mr Hard­cas­tle said his client had since re­lo­cated to De­cep­tion Bay to get away from bad in­flu­ences and was fo­cused on rais­ing her chil­dren.

But Jus­tice John Byrne said it was “dis­ap­point­ing” there was no ev­i­dence of Brown try­ing to re­ha­bil­i­tate her­self and ad­journed the sen­tence so she could prove she was clean by tak­ing a urine test.

“Typ­i­cally where there is com­pe­ti­tion be­tween the chil­dren and the crys­tal meth, the meth ad­dict will choose the drug al­most every time,” Jus­tice Byrne said

“That’s why re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is so im­por­tant.”

Brown will be sen­tenced on April 18.

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