Gun found in Ballarat drug trafficker's car

A Ballarat drug trafficker will remain behind bars over Christmas.

Christopher Ryan appeared via videolink in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to a string of charges including trafficking ice, being a prohibited person possessing a firearm and shop theft.

His matters were then adjourned for sentencing early next year.

The court heard Ryan was arrested on October 19 after police intercepted him in Violet Grove, Wendouree in a car with no rear plate and a false plate fixed to the front.

In the boot of the car was a homemade firearm with 29 rounds of ammunition, and in the backseat sports clothing believed to be stolen and 0.5g of cannabis were also found. 

More drugs were found during a pat-down search, where one point of ice was hidden in Ryan’s sock.

Ryan’s phone was also seized and a number of messages were found indicating he had been buying and selling the drug.

Ryan, who only had a learners permit and was on bail at the time, told police he bought and sold ice to friends in the Melton and Ballarat areas for a bit of extra cash.

In September Ryan was also charged with shop theft after he stole meat and socks valued at $126 from two supermarkets. This offending breached a community corrections order he was on at the time.

Ryan was also linked to a stolen car from 2014 after a cigarette butt was found inside it.

While he was not charged with its theft, he told police it was sold to him for 0.2g of ice.

Asked about handling the stolen car he said: “it’s part of the game with drugs.”

Ryan’s lawyer, Mike Wardell, told the court his client had no criminal priors before last year, with the quick acceleration of offending typifying the use of ice.

He said Ryan began using ice after he lost contact with his children.

Mr Wardell told the court Ryan trafficked the drug to a small group of friends to support his own habit and had purchased the gun for $200 after he was seriously assaulted by some associates.

He urged the magistrate to take into consideration the fact Ryan made admissions to police about trafficking to his own detriment, and before the ice use made positive contributions to the community with a working history. 

Pitching for immediate release and placement on another CCO, Mr Wardell said the difference this time was that Ryan had detoxed while on remand.

Magistrate Gergory Robinson said given Ryan had the chance to detox he would have him reassessed for a CCO.

But he said he did not think the 41 days spent on remand was nearly enough time for general deterrence.

Ryan was remanded in custody while an assessment is completed and will be sentenced on January 10.

He will also be re-sentenced on the CCO breach.