A TEENAGER who acted as a middle man in a drug trafficking operation in Bendigo has avoided prison.
Corey Healey, 19, of Long Gully, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to trafficking ecstasy and methamphetamine, commonly known as ice.
The Bendigo Magistrates' Court heard Healey sourced large quantities of ecstasy from an associate in Melbourne and sold them in Bendigo to help pay for his own drug use.
He trafficked the drug between February and July this year while he was also using up to eight ecstasy tablets a night and using and dealing ice.
Healey was placed on a 12-month Community Corrections Order.
Magistrate Jennifer Tregent warned Healey if he appears back before the court he can expect to go to jail.
Prosecuting Sergeant David Somerton had argued for an immediate term of imprisonment.
He said anything less than a jail sentence was not sending the right message about the impact of ice that "wreaks havoc and misery".
"This insidious drug has invaded the youth of our community," he said.
"If we don't start sending a strong message we'll have people of a like mind prepared to risk the consequences because there are none."
The court heard Healey acted as an agent for a Melbourne drug dealer whom he met up with every two to three weeks. Healey also sourced ice from dealers in Bendigo, which he sold in small quantities for a profit.
Magistrate Tregent said his role in the drug chain and his offending over an extended period of time was extremely serious.
"If there were no middle man there would be no access to this drug for a lot of users," she said.
"Just because (Healey) was not at the top of the tree does not make his involvement any less criminal."
At the time of the offending Healey was living with two other men who have also been accused of drug trafficking.
A raid on their house in July 5 uncovered a range of concealed drugs, notebooks listing drug deal payments, and two live snakes that were not kept in a proper enclosure.
Healey now lives withi his parents, who were present in court.
The other two men will face court at a later date.