Ice dealer who used a secret messaging app gets jail
A MID-level ice dealer who used a covert mobile phone app to plan secret drug deals in Cairns pubs and hotels has been handed a nine-year jail sentence.
Father-of-two John Robert King, 34, was dealing to almost 80 people for about eight months in 2017 and was a fairly senior figure in a major drug operation across the city.
The Cairns Supreme Court heard he was using a storage unit and his ex-partner's house to store the drugs and would arrange deals via phone, text message or an app called Wickr which is an encrypted messaging service.
His defence barrister Malcolm Harrison said King, a qualified carpenter, lost his job in the course of the trafficking and was using about one gram of methylamphetamines per day.
Crown prosecutor Eddie Coker said King's estimated turnover was potentially more than $1.2 million, with a profit of up to about $400,000.
Deals were done at the storage unit, his de facto Melissa Willis' house, hotel rooms and licensed venues around Cairns.
Willis was sentenced to a fully suspended nine months jail sentence for her role in the offending in February.
She was in the public gallery supporting King on during his sentencing on Thursday.
"He would threaten customers who wouldn't pay their debts, both with physical violence or passing on their debts," Mr Coker said.
The court heard he would debt collect "almost daily", then return to the hotel room of his alleged dealer Wielslaw Stasiak, 69, to buy more drugs.
Stasiak's case remains before court.
The court heard on Thursday when police raided Willis' home in September 2017 they found $16,870 cash, drugs and utensils.
They also found drugs and utensils in the storage unit.
Justice Peter Applegarth said he felt sympathy for King's two young children who would be "deprived of your company", but that did not influence his sentencing.
"I have to think of all the children of drug users … of the poisonous drug you were prepared to supply," he said.
King will be eligible for parole in March 2022.