ICE dealers in the region have been put on notice by police after the sentencing yesterday of a drug family matriarch who was one of Warrnambool’s main methamphetamine traffickers.
The head of Warrnambool police’s divisional response unit, Acting Sergeant Richard Hughes, said the sentencing of Nicole Lockwood yesterday sent local ice dealers a clear message that police were coming to get them.
Lockwood, 41, formerly of Warrnambool and recently of Berwick, was yesterday sentenced to three months’ jail after which she will have to complete a two-year, 480-hour community correction order for trafficking in methamphetamine, or ice.
She has appealed the sentence which was imposed in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court by magistrate John Lesser.
Acting Sergeant Hughes said Lockwood was “top of the tree” in supplying ice in Warrnambool last year.
He said Lockwood was one of nearly 40 people convicted for involvement in drug trafficking following the establishment last year of a special Warrnambool police unit to crack down on an ice “epidemic” in the south-west.
Acting Sergeant Hughes said the unit last year launched Operation Defenders to combat the ice problem and an aggregate of eight years’ jail had so far been imposed on the ice traffickers apprehended.
The unit had targeted Lockwood last year to dismantle her drug syndicate, Acting Sergeant Hughes said.
At least six other people in her drug ring have since been convicted of drug offences including a number for drug trafficking.
Lockwood is the matriarch in a drug family and three other members of her extended family have also been convicted of drug trafficking.
Police prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Kevin Mullins told Warrnambool Magistrates Court earlier this week that Lockwood and her daughter, Jessica Pennery-Keenan, had “inherited” a drug ring from Lockwood’s husband, Mark Lockwood.
Mark Lockwood was sentenced last year to 12 months’ jail with a six-month non-parole period for drug trafficking.
Jessica Pennery-Keenan, 21, received a three-month jail term last October for trafficking in ice and ecstasy. Pennery-Keenan’s boyfriend Dylan Stone was this week sentenced to four months’ jail suspended for 15 months for ice trafficking.
The sentence came on top of an 18-month jail term Stone is presently serving for earlier drug trafficking offences.
“I have not seen any drug problem like this since the heroin problem of the late 1990s,” Acting Sergeant Hughes said.