Ice dealer with pet croc jailed for 6 years

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

A DRUG traf­ficker who had a pet croc­o­dile was run­ning a so­phis­ti­cated op­er­a­tion ped­dling ice, a Townsville court has heard.

John Cur­tis Hines, 30, was this week sen­tenced to six years jail after plead­ing guilty to 12 charges in­clud­ing traf­fick­ing a dan­ger­ous drug, es­cape by per­sons in law­ful cus­tody, wil­fully de­stroy­ing cor­rec­tive ser­vices prop­erty and possess­ing a pro­tected an­i­mal.

Hines was also sen­tenced for us­ing his mother to try to smug­gle drugs into Townsville Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre, run­ning away from po­lice while be­ing walked to the watch-house, possess­ing a 20cm croc­o­dile and climb­ing on to the roof of the prison.

Crown Pros­e­cu­tor Wil­liam Slack told the court Hines was traf­fick­ing metham­phetamine and mar­i­juana be­tween Novem­ber 2015 and Fe­bru­ary 12, 2016.

He came to the at­ten­tion of po­lice dur­ing a large-scale drug op­er­a­tion where Hines was buy­ing methy­lam­phetamine from the op­er­a­tion’s main tar­get.

He also sourced metham­phetamine from other sources via text mes­sage and would buy up to an ounce at time for $10,000.

Hines had more than 40 cus­tomers and would of­ten get them to pre-pay. He was also sell­ing mar­i­juana as a side busi­ness.

Mr Slack said Hines was sell­ing to other users as well as peo­ple who would on-sell the drug.

His Bowen home was raided on Fe­bru­ary 11, 2016 and po­lice found $5950 in cash hid­den in his bed, cut­ting agents, 15.5g of testos­terone, 8g of mar­i­juana, 1.5g of sub­stance con­tain­ing metham­phetamine and a 20cm croc­o­dile in his fish tank.

He ap­peared in Proser­pine Mag­is­trates Court on Fe­bru­ary 12, 2016 be­fore break­ing free from po­lice as they walked him to the watch-house.

Hines was found a short time later hid­ing in a bush nearby.

Jus­tice David North said Hines had very lit­tle prospect of turn­ing his life around.

De­fence Bar­ris­ter David James said his client’s prof­its from sell­ing drugs was sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced by his own drug habit and there was no ac­cu­mu­la­tion of wealth.

He said Hines hoped to re­ha­bil­i­tate and re­con­nect with his nine-year-old son once re­leased.

— CHRISTIE AN­DER­SON

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