A man who was caught importing ephedrine from India in an attempt to manufacture drugs in his chook shed has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Patrick Leonidas, who had sat quietly in the dock during the plea hearing, gasped as he was sentenced in the County Court at Ballarat on Thursday.
The father-of-three and former Uber driver had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to traffick methylamphetamine, the Commonwealth offence of importing tier one goods, and possessing cannabis.
In sentencing, Judge Sue Pullen said Leonidas’ primary motivation was to make money.
“There were numerous opportunities for you to back out but you continued to proceed,” Judge Pullen said.
She outlined multiple character references that described Leonidas as honest, caring and a good father. One reference said Leonidas’ family was in disbelief of his offending because it was out of character.
Judge Pullen said she believed Leonidas’ prospects for rehabilitation were good. She said there was a need for specific deterrence.
The 31-year-old was arrested on June 15, 2016, when Australian Federal Police attended his rural Parwan property and uncovered a clandestine lab in a small chicken shed.
Leonidas’ offending started on January 1, 2015, when he researched on the internet how to make methylamphetamine (ice). He then contacted a man in India and purchased $6842 worth of ephedrine - the drug used to manufacture ice.
The shipment of the ephedrine was intercepted when it arrived in Sydney.
The address on the shipment was linked to a PO Box Leonidas had opened in Melton. Keys to the letterbox, laboratory glassware and instructions on how to make ice using ephedrine were found.
Leonadis was sentenced to two years and six months jail, with a non-parole period of 13 months. He was fined $200 with conviction for possessing cannabis.