THE new Warrnambool magistrate yesterday sent a clear message to ice traffickers — sell crystal methamphetamine and you will go to jail.
Magistrate Peter Mellas jailed young Terang drug user-turned-trafficker Jarrod Wynd for 18 months.
Wynd, who has no prior convictions, will have to serve nine months before being eligible for parole.
Mr Mellas admitted it had taken courts and the community time to appreciate the damage caused by crystal methamphetamine, or ice, a drug he described as one of the most destructive ever.
He said ice caused unheard of damage to users and the community and those who trafficked the drug on a commercial basis would serve jail time.
His comments come as community concern over the drug’s impacts rise.
In a four-week period leading up to Christmas, 42 criminal cases — about a third of all 127 heard — in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court involved ice.
Wynd, 22, of Emeny Street, yesterday pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine, as well as other drugs and weapons charges.
Mr Mellas said an aggravating feature of Wynd’s case was the presence of weapons, including a broken down and shortened shotgun and a crossbow. There were also photos which appeared to show the defendant wielding a rifle.
He said there were a range of photos showing Wynd smiling with large amounts of drugs and cash and the images showed “it was all a bit of a laugh”.
The magistrate said Wynd had made a fateful decision to cross the line from being a drug user after losing his job and the breakdown of a relationship into full-blown commercial drug trafficking.
A police investigation was sparked after Wynd was the victim of a burglary on November 26 last year. He admitted to trafficking ice for three months.
Police officers returned to the Emeny Street home on January 4 with a search warrant.
They found $3280 cash in Wynd’s pocket, 5.8 grams of uncut ice, a smoking pipe, a rolled up $10 note, mobile telephones and two sets of scales.
There was a notepad with drug and cash references relating to $7180 and $5500 and a tick list totalled cash amounts of $15,000.
In a garage white powder was located, which Wynd said he used as a cutting agent.
The defendant also admitted to police he went to Melbourne to buy drugs.
Defence counsel Jonathan Makary requested a jail sentence of three months or less, in combination with a community corrections order, taking into account his client’s age, early guilty plea and lack of prior convictions.
Wynd has appealed against the severity of the sentence.