CAUGHT: A Dalby drug dealer will be released from prison in a week.
CAUGHT: A Dalby drug dealer will be released from prison in a week.

Drug kingpin jailed for 16 supplies of meth and marijuana

A DALBY drug dealer has told a court of his transformation in prison, saying his time incarcerated during the global pandemic had changed his outlook on life.

Richard Carl Cooper, 31, blew kisses to his partner in the back of the courtroom as he appeared via video link from Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

Cooper appeared before Dalby District Court for a string of drug-related offences, including supplying meth and marijuana to the Dalby community on 16 occasions.

Crown prosecutor James Bishop told the court police attended Cooper's address on March 20 last year for a search warrant and seized a mobile phone which showed Cooper had offered marijuana in exchange for methylamphetamine on a number of occasions.

On October 8, police attended the address again.

The prosecutor said on this occasion Cooper was seen passing a packet of cigarettes to his partner.

Checks of this item revealed traces of methylamphetamine.

Mr Bishop said that in a police interview, Cooper denied sending text messages organising the drug supplies and he was released on bail.

On December 3 police searched his address again, and went straight for his phone.

The court heard Cooper had made arrangements to supply methylamphetamine and marijuana on 11 separate occasions between November 24 - 30.

Inside his house, police located methylamphetamine in clipseal bags, morphine tablets, digital scales, more clip seal bags and his phone.

In another interview, Cooper denied sending any messages implying an exchange of drugs.

On March 3 this year, Cooper was stopped at Dalby Shoppingworld by police as he was found in possession of a phone which was in breach of his Supreme Court bail order.

Checks of the phone revealed two occasions where Cooper had made plans to sell methylamphetamine.

Police searched his house the next day and located glass pipes, clip seal bags, and scales, but Cooper declined to participate in a police interview.

Mr Bishop said the largest offer made by Cooper was 3.5 grams of meth for $900, but the largest actual supply was 1.7 grams.

Cooper was charged three times by police but continued to offend.

In his submissions, Mr Bishop said Cooper's acts of supplying dangerous drugs perpetuated the use of highly dangerous drugs in the community.

Defence lawyer Frank Martin said his Dirranbandi-based client had a good upbringing and his parents were still together.

Mr Martin said his client admitted he was a drug addict and went "off the rails", but said his time in prison had changed his outlook on life.

Addressing judge Alexander Horneman-Wren, Cooper said it had been "torturous" being in prison due to COVID-19.

Cooper said he had been unable to receive any visits because the centre had been locked down three or four times, and the stress levels of staff and inmates were becoming unbearable.

"Being helpless in jail in torture, it's treacherous," he said to the judge.

"I want to be out of jail, and I want to change my life.

"It's torture every day in here."

Cooper told the judge he wanted to raise his son, who was born while he was in prison, in Dirranbandi with his parents and partner, and said he wanted to teach him "good morals and principles".

Mr Martin said Cooper had worked in jail as a cleaner and a kitchen-hand, but lost his job after a fight broke out and he was "bashed for no reason".

The lawyer said during his time in prison, Cooper had completed a six hour drug course and completed three weeks of study to obtain a Certificate II in logistics.

Mr Martin said Cooper had made eight actual supplies, four offers to supply, and another four offers preparatory to supply.

Judge Horneman-Wren said personal and general deterrence was important when it came to sentencing him.

He said the Dalby community doesn't like the fact that a "casual drug dealer" could roam the streets.

Cooper pleaded guilty to a number of drug charges including 16 counts of supplying a dangerous drug, three counts of possessing a dangerous drug, possessing item suspected of being used in connection with a drug supply, possessing utensils suspected of being used in the commission of a drug crime, four breach of bails, and possessing property used in connection with a drug offence.

For 14 charges on a 20 count indictment and charges one and two on a second indictment, Cooper was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

For the charges of possessing a dangerous drug, he was sentenced to three months imprisonment to be served concurrently.

For charges 19 and 20 on the 20 count indictment, he was convicted and not further punished.

For the four breaches of bail, he was sentenced to one month imprisonment.

For the remainder of the charges he was convicted and not further punished.

When Judge Horneman-Wren called for Cooper to be released on parole on September 3, the defendant threw his hands up in the air and cheered.


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