An Sydney man whose acted as a “trusted intermediary” for a drug syndicate operating on the South Coast was vital to the success of the entire illegal enterprise, a judge has said.
Samuel Leilua, from Hoxton Park, carried out multiple drugs deals worth almost $100,000 with an undercover police operative between April 6 and May 17 at various public venues at Ulladulla, Mittagong, Pheasants Nest and Batemans Bay.
Wollongong District Court heard Leilua was a drug user himself whose addiction had made him “open to exploitation”.
“He was the conduit between the supplier and street dealers,” defence lawyer Adam Morrison said.
“There’s no evidence he was a member of a highly organised syndicate or that he had any decision making power or management role.”
However, Judge Andrew Haesler said Leilua chose to involve himself in the operation in a vital role.
“Without trusted intermediaries such as Mr Leilua, this drug operation could not have taken place,” he said.
Judge Haesler sentenced Leilua to an overall jail term of six years and four months, with a non-parole period of four years.
“Anyone who thinks drug addiction or the glamour of hanging out with a criminal group should be forced to take a step back and ask themselves ‘is this worth wasting my life in a prison cell for’? The answer is no,” Judge Haesler said.
Court documents said Leilua first came to police attention in April 2016 after attending a meeting with a police informant operating under Strike Force Idlewild.
The pair negotiated the sale of an 26 grams of ice for $6,500.
Police later seized the drug for testing. It was found to have a purity of 77 per cent.
Similar deals were carried out over the next six weeks, each time increasing in value.
A deal at Kendall Cottage Rotary Park in Ulladulla at 7.20am on May 10 saw an exchange of 168 grams of ice for $30,000.
During the same drop Leilua gave the undercover operative a sample of cocaine.
In the last exchange, which took place a week later in the same park, Leilua supplied a further $30,000 worth of ice as well as 55 grams of cocaine worth $12,000.
He was arrested while counting his money.
With time already served, Leilua will be eligible to apply for parole in July 2020.