Man caught transporting cocaine, meth to South Coast

Benjamin Fagalilo departs Wollongong Courthouse on Thursday, flanked by supporting relatives. He will spend almost two years subject to an intensive corrections order.

Benjamin Fagalilo departs Wollongong Courthouse on Thursday, flanked by supporting relatives. He will spend almost two years subject to an intensive corrections order.

A man caught transporting cocaine and methylamphetamine to the South Coast as part of a $42,000 drug deal has been spared a full-time jail sentence. 

Benjamin Fagalilo, 26, of Prospect, came to the attention of Strike Force Idlewild detectives during a 2015/2016 investigation into the supply of illicit drugs to the Shoalhaven and Far South Coast. 

He was charged with drug offences and ultimately pleaded guilty to two counts of taking part in the supply of an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug. 

Absent the involvement of people – couriers such as [the co-accused], drivers such as Mr Fagalilo - drug distribution networks would simply collapse. - Judge Andrew Haesler

Police were recording as Fagalilo drove his friend, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to an Ulladulla car park the morning of May 17, 2016. 

There, his co-accused produced a clear bag containing 174.98 grams of a white crystal substance (ice), and a 58.16-gram bag of powder (cocaine), and sold them to an undercover officer for $30,000 and $12,000, respectively. 

Investigators arrested the pair a few minutes later.

During sentencing proceedings at Wollongong District Court on Thursday, Judge Andrew Haesler heard Fagalilo had a “limited capacity to think through consequences” and that cognitive functioning testing had placed him in the bottom five per cent of the population.

The judge found Fagalilo had full knowledge of the drug deals that had taken place. 

“He is still yet to acknowledge the full extent of his involvement,” he said. “He knew what his friend ... was doing. So far as the agreed facts reveal, he was not aware of the amounts involved, but he knew what was happening. 

“Absent the involvement of people – couriers such as [the co-accused], drivers such as Mr Fagalilo - drug distribution networks would simply collapse.

“His role is irrelevant when I come to assess the objective seriousness of his offence. What is relevant is my assessment of his moral culpability.” 

Fagalilo was sentenced to a 20-month intensive correction order. Under the order, he will be required to perform community service work each month, be of good behaviour and accept the supervision of Corrective Services. 

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