How mine worker was snared in bikie-linked meth racket

 

An old school friend co-opted a Mackay mine worker into a statewide methamphetamine trafficking operation with alleged links to an outlaw motorcycle gang, a court has heard.

Former Rural View man Shannon Matthew Hita, 31, was recruited to act as bagman and courier, ferrying drugs and people the length of the Queensland coast, and storing kilograms of meth at his house.

He pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Friday to five offences, having moved to Brisbane with family after he was charged with his role in the ring.

They included trafficking in ice, possessing more than 840g of ice, possessing Schedule 1 dangerous drugs, cocaine, possessing cash suspected of being the proceeds of a drug offence, and possessing a thing used in the commission of a crime.

The court heard Hita was snared in the ring, previously reported as being allegedly aligned with the Finks Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, when he returned home to Mackay after a period of working for his brother in Brisbane.

Former Rural View drug trafficker Shannon Matthew Hita, 31. Picture: Facebook
Former Rural View drug trafficker Shannon Matthew Hita, 31. Picture: Facebook

The alleged kingpin, a friend he "knew from school" who cannot be named for legal reasons, got in touch as he felt Hita was "someone he could use" because although Hita was a drug user, he had "no criminal history of significance".

Hita was "targeted and taken advantage of" because of the "financial pressures" he was facing, and "engaged willingly" in the operation, the court heard.

Between the period of November 30, 2019 - March 31, 2020, when Hita was arrested following the execution of a search warrant on his address, Hita became bagman and courier for the operation, earning $2000 a month plus a one-off $4000 payment.

The court heard Hita stored large amounts of methamphetamine at his house on three occasions: December 2019, and February and March 2020.

He was under instructions not to look at the packages which were being dropped off, and to remove his partner and children from the house when deliveries were being made.

Hita went so far as to cut the ringleader a spare key, the court heard.

On other occasions, Hita undertook extraordinary highway trips at the behest of the ringleader, ferrying people and bags as far north as Cairns and as far south as Yatala.

One on occasions, on February 21, Hita was busted mid-delivery at an address in Beachmere, north of Brisbane, fleeing police before being recaptured and charged with obstructing police, a charge he pleaded guilty to in Caboolture Magistrates Court on March 17.

The court heard Hita's residence was raided by police due to surveillance the ringleader was under.

The search warrant on March 31, 2020 uncovered $2500 cash, cocaine for Hita's personal use, 0.7g pure in 1.641g of substance, and a small amount of personal use methamphetamine in a coat pocket in the walk-in wardrobe, 0.269g pure in 0.35g of substance; before sniffer dogs uncovered the payload.

Upon removing a false bottom in a chest of drawers, officers discovered five packages containing a total of 861.2g pure methamphetamine in 1.4kg of substance.

Police estimated the street value of the drugs at between $172,500 - $198,000.

Hita was sentenced to eight years' jail.

He will be eligible for parole in two-and-a-half years.

At least three others have been charged as part of the ring, with others expected to be charged, but no other matters have been finalised, the court heard.

 

Originally published as How mine worker was snared in bikie-linked meth racket



Students immerse in culture at Yallarm camp

Premium Content Students immerse in culture at Yallarm camp

Students got to build a raft on the Boyne River, participate in activities on...

GPC grows empire with new Bundaberg marine base

Premium Content GPC grows empire with new Bundaberg marine base

The new marine base is expected to provide a number of services including...