DABBLING in drugs has led to a Wodonga man pleading guilty to dealing ice after facing criminal charges for the first time at the age of 44.
Robert Michael Flanagan had been living a productive life and according to his solicitor "everything was wonderful" until he decided to start using drugs.
Since then, in the last 12 months, he has lost his job and his relationship has fallen apart as his ice usage has spiralled out of control.
"It's really quite tragic that a man of 44 years of age who was otherwise contributing to the community now finds himself in custody," Flanagan's lawyer Sally Wilson told Wodonga Court on Monday.
Flanagan was taken into custody by police after being intercepted by officers while driving near his house in Wigg Street at 11.52pm on Saturday.
As they were preparing to breath test him they found a bag with scales and a spoon and another bag with three grams of methamphetamine.
A mobile phone seized was later found to have messages related to drug trafficking.
The Saturday night bust followed Flanagan having been found with drugs in his clothing when police went to his house on Monday morning last week.
Police had been called after a dispute over stolen motorbikes found in Flanagan's shed.
Flanagan pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of possessing methamphetamine as well as a single count of trafficking the drug as well as committing an offence on bail, harassing a witness and dishonestly assisting in the disposal of stolen goods.
Ms Wilson said there was some dispute over the stolen motorbikes, but after a sentence indication from magistrate Ian Watkins, Flanagan pleaded to the related charge.
In sentencing, Mr Watkins said Flanagan was an example of somebody whose "honest and straight life" had come to a "screaming halt" because of ice.
"It's an evil drug and always causing mayhem and destruction wherever it goes," Mr Watkins said.
Accepting that Flanagan's dealing was at the lower end of the scale and that he had no criminal past, Mr Watkins imposed a community corrections order.
It involves Flanagan undertaking 120 hours of unpaid work over 12 months.
Mr Watkins warned Flanagan not to evade drug tests or shirk the unpaid work.
"Life support or an iron lung" were the only excuses acceptable for avoiding the court-ordered toil, he said.