Bendigo ice dealer jailed for five years

A man who trafficked more than $40,000 of ice, dealing it to the “party houses of Bendigo”, has been jailed for five years.

Stuart John Ridge, 39, was convicted in the Victorian County Court on Monday on two charges of trafficking a drug of dependence (namely ice, MDMA and ketamine), three charges of possessing a drug of dependence and using amphetamine.

In her sentencing, Judge Eilzabeth Gaynor described the drug trafficking as “large-scale” and “highly organised”.

Between September 7 and November 25, last year, Ridge regularly bought ice and other drugs from a co-accused that he would sell to others.  

On average Ridge purchased drugs from the co-accused a couple of times a week and records kept by Ridge showed he bought it in amounts of between three-and-a-half to 14 grams, usually the latter, which cost $6000.

Records hidden under Ridge’s floorboards showed 19 different customers who made at least 82 purchases.

The total amount bought in the 71-day period was more than $40,000.

Ridge sold most of what he bought but also used himself, maintaining a drug habit of $300 to $2000 a week.

“You were living in some sort of unrealistic bubble, if you like, where you had access to drugs in almost unlimited quantities and at the time you were supplying what your counsel termed ‘the party houses around Bendigo’, “ Judge Gaynor said.

“I am satisfied that the trafficking you did engage in, though large scale, was primarily to fund a habit which had reached fairly grandiose proportions.

“Against this, however, is the fact that you did engage in quite a purposeful and organised way in large-scale trafficking  and with no indication that this business was going to do anything other than continue on for as long as it could.”

Judge Gaynor said she accepted that Ridge’s offending stemmed from a troubled childhood.

Ridge was physically abused by his father as a child and sexually abused by his mother’s cousin.

He also left school early after a bad car accident and developed a dependence on drugs and alcohol, racking up convictions for assaulting police and drug trafficking.

Judge Gaynor said she believed Ridge had a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation after prison but would need to address his drug abuse.

“I make the point, although I am simply repeating what many judges have said over and over, that drugs wreak absolute havoc and misery in the community, and indeed you now seem to recognise that drugs have wreaked absolute misery and disruption in your own life,” she said.

Ridge’s 367 days spent in custody were reckoned as time served.

His will have to serve another year in prison before he is eligible for parole.

Jailed: Stuart Ridge outside court in Bendigo earlier this year.

Jailed: Stuart Ridge outside court in Bendigo earlier this year.


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