Murder led to drug investigation

Luke McAuliffe’s murder sparked a police investigation into the Gladstone drug trade.
Luke McAuliffe’s murder sparked a police investigation into the Gladstone drug trade. ROK-MCAULIFFE

WHEN others couldn't get their hands on it, Paul Terrence Mastroieni could.

This is how defence Barrister David Murray explained the 46-year-old's progression from meth addict to "go-to man" in the Gladstone drug trade.

Mastroieni and another Gladstone man, 44-year-old Richard Cedric Ingra, pleaded guilty to separate charges of trafficking dangerous drugs in the Supreme Court sittings in Rockhampton yesterday.

The two were picked up during a police investigation codenamed Operation Juliet Hoodoo which started targeting the illegal drug trade in Gladstone in February 2011.

The court heard the operation stemmed from investigations into the murder of Luke McAuliffe, who was killed in October 2010.

Crown prosecutor David Jones told the court police intercepted Mastroieni carrying methamphetamines a number of times between October, 2010, and June, 2011.

Police also intercepted phone calls and text messages between Mastroieni and his customers.

Mr Jones said Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Moon, who was involved in Operation Hoodoo, valued the drugs found in Mastroieni's possession over his eight-month trafficking period in excess of $100,000.

Mr Murray said the reality of Mastroieni's past offences were in the text messages intercepted by police.

"They are not indicative of a significant, sophisticated or substantial operation," he said.

In Ingra's case, Mr Jones said police intercepted an average of 10 conversations a day relating to drugs.

Mr Murray described Ingra as an "unremarkable, sad, drug addict".

Justice Duncan McMeekin sentenced Ingra to four years imprisonment with immediate parole eligibility. Mastroieni was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years with a parole date set at December 21, 2013.

Topics:  drug jail luke mcauliffe murder

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