Cooke jailed for Ipswich drug ring
WITH a multi-million turnover for his cannabis trafficking enterprise, it's no surprise Christopher Ronald Cooke could afford to hand out leg ham to his dealers as Christmas gifts.
Cooke, now 30, was jailed for 7.5 years when he faced Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday for an Ipswich drug business which turned over between $3 million and $10 million in 2009.
He was one of the prime movers in the Ipswich syndicate from February, 2008, and December, 2009.
The court heard cannabis was being transported in vacuum-sealed packs alongside legitimate deliveries from South Australia to Queensland.
Police unravelled the syndicate on December 15, 2009, when they intercepted co-accused Kevin David Black with a 50-pound shipment.
Police also found another 35 pounds of cannabis in an Ipswich garage.
They also seized $110,000 cash wrapped in Christmas paper and 10 leg hams which were destined for lower-level traffickers as gifts.
Justice Peter Applegarth said Cooke played a managerial role in the enterprise which escalated from one pound a week in 2008 to trafficking 20 to 50 pounds of cannabis when he was caught.
He said each pound was selling between $3000 and $4000.
Justice Applegarth said Cooke was a hard-working concreter and family man and his family was disappointed he got involved in trafficking.
He said Cooke had been a great help during the 2011 floods.
But he said Cooke must be punished for general and personal deterrence.
"The allure of income from working in the drug trade isn't worth it," he said.