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Drug mule’s Vic ‘vacation’ leads to prison | The Canberra Times

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A Canadian drug mule who came to Australian on a two-week vacation will spend at least five years in a Melbourne prison. Wayne Hackett arrived at Melbourne airport in February with four carry on suitcases and more than 15kg of pure methamphetamine – more than 20 times what Victoria’s courts consider to be a commercial amount. It had a wholesale value of up to $2.8 million. Hackett was to be paid $40,000 to bring the ice to Australia. The 27-year-old admitted possession of the drugs when interviewed by police and later pleaded guilty to the import. But though he knew he was carrying drugs, those behind the operation didn’t tell him what it was. The drugs were stashed in flat packages and hidden in the lining of the cases. County Court Judge Michael Bourke said Hackett was complicit in the smuggling of all the drugs, not just those in the two bags he was carrying. His girlfriend was also charged. She has pleaded not guilty and will go to trial. Hackett had lived a dysfunctional and disadvantaged life, Judge Bourke said. His parents separated when he was five and his mother drowned a few years later, in suspicious circumstances. He was raised by his abusive father and stepmother, and lived in a series of group homes before moving in with his mother’s parents, who remain supportive. Hackett had experienced homelessness after ending a relationship with the mother of his young daughter – an event that Judge Bourke said, with the addition of losing his job, led to his increased drug use. He had used cannabis since his teenage years, escalating to problematic cocaine use shortly before the offending. Judge Bourke described methamphetamine as a very damaging substance, and its spread as highly profitable for major entrepreneurs. While Hackett was no more than a courier, his role was critical to the operation. He said Hackett had shown good qualities in his life and an ability and desire to rehabilitate, but others had to be discouraged. “There must be the attempt to deter other prospective couriers of drugs into Australia,” Judge Bourke said. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years behind bars and will be eligible for parole in five years. Hackett will be deported after his release. Australian Associated Press

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