Man jailed over Wollongong drug ring

A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 20 months’ jail on Thursday for his involvement in an ecstasy supply ring operating between Goulburn and Wollongong.

Joshua Gregory Buckley, who pleaded guilty to nine charges of supplying a prohibited drug, was part of a four-member group that was caught trafficking ecstasy in January 2013.

Wollongong District Court heard that Buckley came to the attention of police when a strike force was set up by the Goulburn Drug Unit in December 2012, which coincided with a similar investigation by Lake Illawarra Police.

Judge Paul Conlon said Buckley and co-offender Michael Frederick Dunn, 24, both Goulburn locals, were operating in unison and would make weekly trips to Dapto to pick up orders of ecstasy tablets.

The exchanges were organised by a go-between, Nilal Kulatunga, 36, who would organise for the men to pick up the drugs from the fourth man, Benjamin Santosa.

Dunn and Buckley then sold the drugs for $25 a pill in the Goulburn area.

The court heard that Dunn had the contact in the Wollongong area but once Buckley became involved, he was a willing participant.

During sentencing, Judge Conlon said Buckley came into contact with Dunn in December 2012 while he was in between jobs and without a regular income.

Dunn supplied Buckley with free ecstasy and gave him some money for basic living costs.

At the time of the offences, Buckley had developed an addiction to ecstasy.

Defence barrister Alan Lucas said Buckley felt a ‘‘misplaced obligation’’ to help Dunn when the question of picking up the ecstasy tablets arose.

Judge Conlon referred to a bundle of documents, tendered by the defence, in which people who had known Buckley in the past 12 months referred to him as a ‘‘worthwhile human being’’ who would not reoffend.

Judge Conlon said Buckley had good prospects for rehabilitation and, to a large extent, had already started the rehabilitation process in the past 12 months.

His expressions of remorse were genuine, the judge said.

Judge Conlon sentenced Buckley to 20 months’ jail with a non-parole period of eight months. He recommended the term be served in a minimum security facility.