NT News

Cannabis smuggler sent to jail

- JASON WALLS

A KEY player in one of the biggest organised cannabis smuggling rings in Northern Territory history is the first to be jailed over the $20m racket.

Bruce Jordan, 58, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to supplying a commercial quantity of the drug to alleged syndicate kingpin Peter Wellman James between September 2019 and September 2020.

The court heard Jordan had been operating a headstone business in Adelaide when he agreed to use it as a front to ship large consignmen­ts of the illicit cargo up the Stuart Hwy.

A KEY player in one of the biggest organised cannabis smuggling rings in Northern Territory history is the first to be jailed over the $20m racket.

Bruce Jordan, 58, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to supplying a commercial quantity of the drug to alleged syndicate kingpin Peter Wellman James between September 2019 and September 2020.

The court heard Jordan had been operating a headstone business in Adelaide when he agreed to use it as front to ship large consignmen­ts of the illicit cargo up the Stuart Hwy.

As part of the “sophistica­ted and methodical” operation, big green steel drums were filled with 60 450g packages of cannabis and disguised to look like shipments from Jordan’s legitimate business.

When the drums arrived in Darwin, other members of the syndicate picked up the drugs and distribute­d them for cash, some of which was then packaged up and sent back to Jordan in Adelaide.

In sentencing, Justice Peter Barr said Jordan dispatched 10 such shipments before the syndicate was broken up by the drug and organised crime squad’s Operation Medina.

Justice Barr said Jordan had since admitted to facilitati­ng the supply of more than 1.5 tonnes of cannabis within 12 months with a street value of more than $20m if sold by the pound.

“In an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcemen­t agencies, the members of Mr James’ syndicate used CIPHR phones, internet calls, texts and social media applicatio­ns to maximise the security of communicat­ion among members,” he said.

“They also conducted faceto-face meetings in vehicles at prearrange­d locations to discuss the distributi­on of the cannabis and payments of moneys owed. They also maintained separate safe houses in the Northern Territory where cannabis could be securely kept.

“This measure compartmen­talised the syndicate and minimised risk to the overall syndicate in the event that a member of some aspect of the syndicate’s operations were compromise­d.”

In handing him a nine year prison sentence, Justice Barr said Jordan had told a psychiatri­st his mood was “low” and he was “drinking more heavily” when he agreed to join the syndicate.

“You said that you were bored and not thinking as well as you should have,” he said.

Justice Barr said Jordan had previously been highly regarded, with friends describing him as “hardworkin­g, generous and trustworth­y” and “compassion­ate, socially conscious and caring”.

“The supply of nine very substantia­l commercial quantity consignmen­ts of cannabis from Adelaide to Darwin and one smaller but still significan­t consignmen­t sent to Alice Springs is, objectivel­y, very serious offending,” he said.

“Your offending conduct was essential to the drug supply operations of a well-organised criminal syndicate, and the role played by you through your legitimate business, Bruce Jordan Memorials, was critical to those operations.”

Jordan will be eligible for parole in 2027.

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 ?? Picture: Che Chorley ?? Drug and organised crime Detective Superinten­dent Kerry Hoskins with about 132kg of cannabis seized from the smuggling ring.
Picture: Che Chorley Drug and organised crime Detective Superinten­dent Kerry Hoskins with about 132kg of cannabis seized from the smuggling ring.

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