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Man sold drugs to get through mining downturn

WHEN the mining downturn hit, an Emerald man turned to trafficking drugs to pay off his debts.

And now he will be behind bars for the next 18 months.

Jason Carl Klementsen ran a heavy transport business from Emerald, servicing mines in Queensland and the Northern Territory, and ran into financial difficulty when a company that owed him $300,000 went bust.

During his sentence hearing at Brisbane District Court on Tuesday, the court heard the now 45-year-old was busted trafficking marijuana from his property outside Emerald during a nine-month period in 2014.

His partner, Catherine Odette Vincent, was also charged as being part of the drug syndicate that was discovered during a police operation targeting drugs in regional Queensland.

The court heard undercover police bought a total of 1.1kg of marijuana worth $16,700 from either Klementsen or Ms Vincent on five occasions.

Ms Vincent previously received a bravery award for running into a house fire to rescue her two children in 2007.

On Tuesday she pleaded guilty to four counts of supplying marijuana and one count of producing the drug and she will be sentenced in July.

Klementsen, who has moved to the Gold Coast, was sentenced to five years jail, suspended after he serves 18 months, after pleading guilty to trafficking marijuana, supplying MDMA and producing marijuana.

The court heard the father-of-two told an associate that he sold about 9-11kg of marijuana a month.

A police intercept of Klementsen's phone revealed he had about 45 personal contacts who had bought or requested marijuana from him.

When police searched his property they also found three marijuana plants, $1400 cash and five mobile phones.

Earlier this year Klementsen received a suspended jail sentence when he faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court for stealing stock.

The court heard Klementsen was on bail for the drug offences when he stole the stock.

When sentencing him, Judge Paul Smith said Klementsen had a "significant commercial cannabis enterprise".

"No doubt any profit you made it was ploughed into re-purchasing drugs and most likely, it would seem to me, back into the business because of the financial problems experienced at the time," Judge Smith said.

He also said references tendered to the court on Klementsen's behalf said the man had exhausted all of his financial avenues and was desperate.

"Of course, many people have financial difficulties and don't resort to criminal activity," Judge Smith said. "It shouldn't be done." - ARM NEWSDESK