A drug dealer has admitted he did not care about the impact ice was having on his customers when he was selling the drug in high volumes in the North East.
But after 22 months in custody, Luke Brown says he has hit rock bottom.
The 28-year-old had been a devoted family man and talented football and basketball player until 2016 when he split with his parter of 11 years and started a relationship with Jasmine Bourne.
He became a high-level member of Bourne’s methamphetamine ring, based out of Wangaratta.
The drug syndicate sold upwards of 1000 grams of ice between March and November 2016.
Both Bourne and Brown pleaded guilty to charges including trafficking a commercial quantity of methamphetamine when they appeared in Shepparton County Court on Monday.
The court heard Brown was caught in possession of a sawn-off shotgun and his responsibilities in the syndicate included finding clients, organising deliveries and collecting debts.
In a sitting of the Koori Court, Brown told Judge John Smallwood and Aboriginal elders he knew he was going to be sentenced to more time in jail, but was planning to put his crimes behind him.
“I didn’t think about how bad the ice was, I didn’t care,” he said.
“It’s a bad thing, but going to jail has helped me.”
Judge Smallwood warned Brown was “in deep trouble” because his drug dealing ruined lives, but accepted the remorse was sincere.
He said he would take Brown’s good attitude and lack of criminal history into account when he hands down the sentence later in the week.
“I’m prepared to give an opportunity on parole earlier than normal,” he said.
Ian Larkins will be released from custody after he was sentenced to nine months in jail for his lower role in the syndicate.
He had already served 371 days on remand, but Judge Smallwood said that was a longer jail term than he thought was appropriate for the charges including possessing methamphetamine for the purpose of trafficking.
The co-accused’s plea hearings continue on Tuesday.