Sting that brought region's biggest drug ring unstuck
When the heads of Queensland's largest drug ring were approached by a new customer looking to buy cocaine, they could not have known he would help dismantle their entire operation.
The customer, who gave the name Chris Thompson, reached out to Brendan Arthur Lynch to buy methylamphetamine and cocaine, court documents published this week reveal.
At the time Lynch and Gregory Leo Lowien, 63, were the heads of a drug operation which ultimately made them more than $850,000 in 10 months by trafficking ice, marijuana, cocaine and MDMA into Rockhampton from Sydney, China and the United States.
Thompson, an undercover police officer, infiltrated the ring's closest circle buying drugs from Lynch and was told by Lowien that they were "the biggest shifters in town" and could get as much of any drug that they wanted.
After the five month sting, Queensland Police were able to move in on the syndicate blowing the lid on their prolific dealings which trafficked 10kg of methylamphetamine and 12kg of marijuana between April 2016 and February 2017.
Police discovered that the drugs were moved by courier Brendan Michael Manitzky who was paid $100,000 to transport drugs and cash from Sydney to Rockhampton.
They were also sent via Australia Post.
Rebecca Michelle Cooke, 39, accepted packages for the drug ring over its 10 months of operation for drugs and money.
In March 2017, two parcels of cocaine were intercepted by Australian Border Control and authorities switched the drugs with icing sugar.
Thompson delivered the bogus drugs to Cooke leading to a search warrant at her house and her arrest.
Cooke pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced in February last year to six-and-a-half years with parole eligibility after two years.
Manitzky was also arrested in March 2017 after police stopped him for an RBT at Dululu and found 1kg of ice, 7.9kg of cannabis and 170g of cocaine worth $1.2 million.
He pleaded guilty to trafficking and was sentenced to four years' jail, suspended after 16 months.
Lynch was sentenced to seven years' jail after pleading guilty to the trafficking and in August last year, Lowien was dealt the lengthiest sentence and ordered to serve 80 per cent of his 10-year sentence behind bars.
He had pleaded guilty to trafficking, burglary, assault occasioning bodily harm, supplying a dangerous drug and other summary drug offences.
Lowien appealed his sentence in the Queensland Court of Appeal but was told last week his application had been refused.
Justice Anthe Philippides said 10 years was "condign punishment" for his offending.
"The trafficking enterprise, in which the applicant, a man of mature years, played a key role was of a large scale and conducted at a wholesale level over a prolonged period, bringing a great deal of dangerous drugs into the Rockhampton area," Justice Phillippides said in her court judgment.
Lowien will be 68 when he is eligible to leave prison.
Originally published as Sting that brought Rocky's biggest drug ring unstuck