Man receives reduced sentence after pleading guilty to drugs offences

A MINERS Rest man who tried to smoke his ice pipe as police raided his house for drugs was sentenced to 15 months’ jail on Thursday. 

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Aron Russell, 24, pleaded guilty at Ballarat Magistrates Court to more than 30 charges, including trafficking methamphetamine, resisting arrest and breaching a intervention order.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn told the court police recovered 9.6 grams of ice, 40 grams of MDMA, scales and a “tick list” after raiding Russell’s property in March 12. 

Almost 20 shotgun cartridges, numerous clear zip-lock bags and five mobile phones were also found by police at the property. 

During the raid, Senior Constable Michelle Kilburn said Russell, who was handcuffed and sat on the couch in the living room, “sprung from the couch and jumped towards a pipe which had a crystal substance in it”. 

A scuffle ensued and when later asked by police to explain his actions, Russell said he thought he “may as well have a smoke”. 

Defence lawyer Mike Wardell argued for a community corrections order given Russell’s lack of criminal history. 

“Partying led to drugs and from the drugs we now find he’s in custody,” he said. 

“He is in the fortunate position where ... (he) has been able to reflect on what he can lose.” 

Russell was bailed on April 2 for the drug-related offences and re-arrested on April 28 for breaching an intervention order. 

In sentencing Russell to 15 months’ jail, with a minimum of five months to be served before he was eligible for parole, magistrate Ian von Einem said the trafficking was “not just selling to mates”. 

“My rough guess is that this was not just a minor operation – especially with the amount of property involved.” 

Russell, who has already spent 89 days in jail, was fortunate to get this particular sentence, according to Mr von Einem. 

“The starting point for trafficking for me is 12 months,” he said. 

“Do you really want to be one of those people who is just in and out of jail?” 

Mr von Einem said Russell’s early guilty plea and his lack of prior criminal history combined to reduce his overall sentence.

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