Drug dealer busted with boa constrictor
A DRUG dealer who kept an illegal South American python for a pet and collected an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, firecrackers and explosives has vowed to cut ties with the Sunshine Coast's "drug sub culture".
Craig Kenneth Barker, 31, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to more than 50 charges including possessing weapons and drug trafficking offences and keeping a declared pest.
Justice Helen Bowskill sentenced Barker to eight years in jail with parole after 18 months.
With time served, Barker will be a free man in March 2018.
Crown Prosecutor Sarah Klemm said the offending happened from March 2014 to July last year, with Barker selling drugs on the Sunshine Coast and in Cairns.
Ms Klemm said police found a trail of evidence on Barker's Facebook account.
She said raids of Barker's home uncovered more than 20 weapons, drugs and paraphernalia associated with trafficking and a diary showing he sold at least $245,000 worth of methamphetamine to more than 50 customers over the 15 months.
Officers also found a red-tail boa constrictor. These snakes can reach 2m in length and are banned in Australia.
Ms Klemm said in just six months, Barker sold six ounces of methamphetamine worth more than $48,000 at wholesale and street level.
Defence barrister Angus Edwards said his client was a former civil engineer who turned his $1000 a day ice addiction into a thriving business.
Mr Edwards said Barker had a passion for weaponry and that none of the guns and explosives found in his home was used for criminal activities.
Mr Edwards said going to jail was a big shock to Barker and he had promised he would not return to the Sunshine Coast.
"His descent into drug addiction and into supplying is a sad tale," Mr Edwards told the court.
"He's a man who had never been in real trouble ... but ultimately he has gone into jail for a lengthy period.
"It has been a time to reassess his life.
"He has done much to rehabilitate himself while in custody."
In sentencing Barker, Justice Bowskill noted the defendant's mother had written a moving letter to the court.
"Your mother offers her unconditional love and support and looks forward to helping you achieve your goals in the future," Justice Bowskill said.
"Although you have committed horrific offences, you have the capacity to be a decent and loved human being in the future."