How much the head of Rocky's biggest drug ring made
THEY say the number 13 brings bad luck but for one of Rockhampton's biggest drug dealers in history, his unlucky number just happens to be 10.
Gregory Leo Lowien, 62, was sentenced today to 10 years prison - required by legislation to serve at least eight years - for his role in a drug trafficking ring that imported 10kgs of methamphetamines into the Beef Capital over a 10-month period in 10 trips.
He had already served 781 days in pre-sentence custody leaving just under six years minimum to serve.
The syndicate, which made $850,000 profit and involved four members, transported meth, marijuana, cocaine and MDMA into Rockhampton in 2016-17 via road and Australia Post with drugs sourced from Sydney, China and Cambodia.
Brenden Michael Manitzky - who has been sentenced for his role - was the principal courier for the syndicate, driving inland from Rockhampton through Goondiwindi, stopping overnight at Singleton on 10 occasions before driving to Sydney to pick up drugs which included 12kg of marijuana, MDMA and sometimes 150g parcels of cocaine.
Manitzky was intercepted by police at Dululu after being stopped for an RBT about 1.30pm on March 2, 2017, during which police found 1kg of ice, 7.9kg of cannabis and 170g of cocaine worth $1.2 million.
During a contested facts hearing/sentence in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton, the court heard Lowien had boasted to an undercover cop he and co-accused Brendan Arthur Lynch were their Sydney contact's biggest customers, were the biggest drug dealers in Rockhampton and could get as much of any drug they wanted.
Lowien pleaded guilty to one count each of trafficking dangerous drugs, burglary, assault occasioning bodily harm, supplying a dangerous drug, possessing cash suspected to be proceeds of drugs, possession of a drug utensil, having a knife in a public place and one of unregistered vehicle charge.
Lynch pleaded guilty - and will be sentenced at a later date - to one count of trafficking dangerous drugs
Defence barristers for the pair argued against the Crown's submitted trafficking period for Lowien as he was sentenced to jail a month before the alleged March 27 date, the profit the pair made and the amount of meth imported into Rockhampton.
The indictment for both Lynch and Lowien for the trafficking charge placed the offending period from April 30, 2016, to March 22, 2017.
Crown prosecutor Judith Geary had submitted that Lowien gave orders for a pick up of drugs in Sydney the weekend before he was sentenced by Justice Duncan McMeekin on February 27, 2017, for possession of 10.966g meth to a two year and four month prison term with parole release on June 26, 2017.
She said the undercover agent, who had secured six sales from the pair during the operation, was told by Lowien that Lynch was taking over the business while he went "away" for a while.
Justice Graeme Crow ruled in favour of Lowien's barrister Jordan Ahlstrand's submission that there was no evidence of communication by Lowien from prison to any of his associates and therefore ruled Lowien's trafficking period finished on February 27, 2017.
Lowien had boasted to the undercover agent that he and Lynch were making between $150,000 to $220,000 a month which would equate to between $1.5m and $2.2m during the trafficking period.
However, Mr Ahlstrand successfully argued Lowien's figures were "hyperbolic" in an effort to secure the undercover agent as a customer rather than factual and his client claimed it was more like $60,000 profit per month.
The court heard Lowien used the money from trafficking to prop up two legitimate businesses he owned including a pet food business and assist his family of five adult children and eight grandchildren.
Mr Ahlstrand told the court that Lowien had worked since leaving school at 15 years of age in various jobs including quarry, truck driving, managing a sports centre and machine operator.
He said Lowien was injured in a workplace accident and was unable to work for two years.
Mr Ahlstrand said that injury was exacerbated in a car accident in 2015 which also injured Lowien's back.
About 20 documents were tendered showing Lowien's long engagement in the community including first aid officer certificates, evidence of assisting emergency organisations like search and rescue along with police.
His first entry on his criminal history was when he was 45 years old and now includes convictions for a home invasion where he assaulted a home occupier with a torch, along with supply drugs to his own son.
Justice Crow said the evidence showed the syndicate made up to 150 supplies during the operation.
"The damage that you have done Mr Lowien is enormous," he said after repeating a message he gives to every trafficker he sentences about the highly addictive nature of meth and the fast downward impact on users' lives and their families.