Huge meth habit led to ‘substantial’ drug racket
A MIDDLE-AGED man who was using up to $1000 of methamphetamine a day turned to a life of crime to support the addiction.
Brett Wayne Blanchard, 43, trafficked drugs for five months between May and October 2019 to 45 customers.
The Townsville District Court heard Blanchard's offending initially came to light after his drug supplier was identified by police.
On May 22, 2019, police attended a Townsville property in relation to a disturbance report where they located Blanchard.
Police found 50g of methamphetamine, 744g of marijuana, $5500 cash as well as glass pipes and digital scales in a car on the property.
The next day, police conducted a search warrant at Blanchard's address in Kelso.
The court heard police found less than a gram of methamphetamine and 14g of marijuana.
A tick list was also found that revealed Blanchard was owed $11,000 from 14 customers. Blanchard was arrested by police after the raid and was granted watch-house bail later that day.
On September 27, 2019, police forced entry to Blanchard's address at Kelso.
The court heard police found 1.3kg of marijuana in a brown suitcase, nunchucks, a money-counting machine and a safe containing $30,000 and jewellery.
A tick sheet found revealed Blanchard was owed $26,000 from 31 customers.
Crown prosecutor Monique Sheppard said police returned to Blanchard's Kelso property 20 days later.
"Blanchard was at the back of the property in the yard and police had to force entry to the address," she said.
"It seems the bulk of the methamphetamine that was found in the defendant's possession had been thrown over to neighbouring yards."
Ms Sheppard said police uncovered 43g of methamphetamine, 455g of marijuana, 2.5g of cocaine, $4800 cash and a tick sheet showing $2500 worth of debts.
Blanchard pleaded guilty to 30 charges including drug trafficking and possession of a weapon.
Defence barrister Harvey Walters said his client was self-employed and "developed an addiction in a short amount of time" to methamphetamine.
"My client's addiction became very strong. He was using up to $1000 a day of methamphetamine and he used up all his life savings initially in relation to using the drug," he said.
"Then he was driven, your honour, to keep carrying out the business to keep supplying himself with the drug."
Justice David North told Blanchard his "operation was sophisticated".
"You had a large client base and at times and at different times and repeatedly was found in possession of large quantities of drugs and money," he said.
"Yours was no hand-to-mouth street level trafficking existent, you were supplying drugs such as methamphetamine in substantial quantities to persons who were further expected to disseminate the drugs."
After declaring the 503 days spent in pre-sentence custody as time already served, Justice North sentenced Blanchard to six and a half years' jail.
A parole eligibility date was set at October 17 this year.
Originally published as Huge meth habit led to 'substantial' drug racket