A Berkeley drug dealer went to great efforts to ensure his drug runs from Sydney to the Illawarra were concealed, but dealt heroin and methylamphetamines from the front door of home while being known to police.
Feras Abdul-Hamid, 42, was sentenced to jail in Wollongong District Court on Tuesday for three separate instances of offending, stretching back to 2021.
With a criminal history and bouts of jail time stretching back to his early 20s, Abdul-Hamid was first picked up for his latest string of offending in April 2021.
On April 12, 2021, police indicated for a car belonging to Abdul-Hamid's wife Suzanna Ristevska to pull over in Alexandria. The car, driven by Abdul-Hamid, sped off and police began a pursuit through Newtown, Marrickville and Stanmore while Abdul-Hamid was tossing out packages of methylamphetamines during the chase.
Police estimated that the car reached speeds of 200 kmh in a 50kmh zone, narrowly missing oncoming traffic.
For the safety of other drivers, police stopped the pursuit, but found the car two days later in Brighton-Le-Sands.
This run in with the law didn't stop Abdul-Hamid from his primary activity, selling heroin and the drug ice out of his home in Berkeley, which police watched for months before swooping in July that year.
Police had been following Abdul-Hamid as he made trips between the Illawarra and Sydney to purchase hundreds of thousands of dollars of meth and ice.
Abdul-Hamid would then sell these drugs to suppliers in the Illawarra from his Berkeley address, with police arresting lower level dealers after watching them purchase drugs from Abdul-Hamid's house.
On July 7, police stopped the car Abdul-Hamid was in on the way back from a buying trip to Sydney and confiscated the vehicle.
A forensic search of the car found two battery operated controls that opened a hidden compartment under the dash of the vehicle. In there, police found 496 grams of methylamphetamines and other bags containing 41.6 grams of heroin.
Police estimate that if Abdul-Hamid sold the methylamphetamines in small quantities at street level he would have netted upwards of $200,000.
After this arrest, Abdul-Hamid was remanded in custody, but made a successful bid for bail to enter drug rehabilitation in June 2022.
While out in the community, Abdul-Hamid returned to his old ways and was picked up by police patrolling Lake Heights after doing a u-turn in a red Subaru over double lines on Weringa Avenue.
Abdul-Hamid got out of the car holding a large plastic bag and police chased him on foot, as he lobbed the bag containing 142.29 grams of heroin over a neighbour's fence.
Police tackled Abdul-Hamid to the ground, but not before he tossed a glass pipe from his trousers onto the ground, causing it to smash.
As officers handcuffed Abdul-Hamid, he bit one Constable on the forearm, causing pain and swelling.
Sentencing the man, Judge Andrew Haesler said while Abdul-Hamid had taken some steps to avoid detection, this was undone by his wilful disregard for police surveillance.
"To deal from your own home when you're a known drug supplier shows an extraordinary lack of sophistication," Judge Haesler said.
"To go to all this trouble and then open yourself up to being caught because you are dealing almost openly from the street, at your own house."
Defence lawyer Fouad Awada said his client had a treatment plan and was using buprenorphine injections to reduce his dependence on illicit drugs, but had "guarded" prospects of rehabilitation.
Abdul-Hamid had earlier pleaded guilty to the drug supply offences, including one count of directing a criminal group and the commercial supply of methylamphetamines and a lower charge of supplying heroin. He also pleaded guilty to charges of supplying a prohibited drug and assaulting police arising from the December 2022 incident in Lake Heights. A jury found Abdul-Hamid guilty in September of the police pursuit in Sydney.
Abdul-Hamid will spend up to seven years behind bars. With time already served he will be eligible for parole on 16 January 2027.
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