ALBURY drug syndicate mastermind Malcolm John Collins yesterday candidly told a judge about trying highly addictive “ice” and the ramifications it had on his life before being arrested by police last year.
Collins, described by a prosecutor as the “Mr Big” of the ice trade in Albury, was down to 70 kilograms in weight and regularly going without sleep as his drug habit spiralled.
But it came to a crashing halt following a three-month covert police operation involving 30,000 telephone intercepts which culminated in his arrest last October.
“I was against drugs when I was younger,” Collins said when giving evidence in the District Court at Albury before Judge Stephen Walmsley.
“I took something. I got addicted to it and I took it further.
“I was caught up in a cyclone. I was out of control.”
Collins, 44, made his admissions during a plea hearing on three charges of supplying 1914 grams of cannabis, 134.85 grams of amphetamine, and 10.3 grams of ecstasy between July 18 and October 10 last year.
Director of Public Prosecutions representative Diana Paterson said Collins and many others were nabbed in a large scale police operation.
Ms Paterson said there was an up-line supplier in Sydney who would face arraignment this month.
But Collins was “organising and obtaining” the drugs into Albury over a period of time and he was the head of operations.
She said Collins turned to drugs late in life, but he should get a significant jail term.
Barrister Grant Brady appeared for Collins and suggested a sentence in the vicinity of four years with a minimum term of about 50 per cent.
“In my submission, he has good prospects of rehabilitation,” Mr Brady said.
“He was not a man involved in drugs until his 40s.”
Mr Brady said Collins’ involvement with ice stemmed from a significant addiction.
Collins has been on remand for more than 300 days, has children aged in their 20s and missed the birth of his first grandchild three weeks ago.
He has been back in Junee jail for a week, but spent five months in Bathurst jail, two months at Cessnock and six weeks at Silverwater.
Collins has been unable to access drug and alcohol counselling while in custody.
“You do not exist on remand. They give you nothing. I have asked,” he said.
Collins was suffering depression after splitting with his wife and felt good when he took ice for the first time.
“I had a bad habit. I was not myself. I just went down the wrong path,” he said.
Collins said he was selling drugs to support his habit.
Judge Walmsley deferred sentencing until next week.