A DRUG trafficker who was found passed out in a car in Bendigo with more than two kilograms of the drug GHB has been sentenced to 19 months in jail.
Taylor Stewart, 28, fronted the County Court this week where he pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence, possessing cannabis, and dealing with property suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
The court heard on the evening of November 6 last year, a member of the public saw a vehicle driving very slowly through a red light on MacKenzie Street in Golden Square.
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Police responded to the 000 call and saw a dark Holden Commodore driving erratically in the area.
A short time later, police located the vehicle stopped at a set of traffic lights with a number of cars waiting behind it.
The driver, who was later identified as Stewart, was unconscious with another man conscious beside him.
When the police removed the keys from the ignition, Stewart woke up but he appeared substance affected and drowsy.
When he gave his licence to the police, the officers saw a large amount of cash.
The police searched the car and found various items, including three plastic water bottles filled with 2.197 kilograms of the drug GHB, two ziplock bags with 4.5 grams of cannabis, scales, a glass pipe, a pill press, and $6765.10 in cash.
Stewart's mobile phone also showed a number of text messages relating to drug trafficking.
In her sentencing remarks, Judge Kate Hawkins said drug trafficking was an "inherently serious offence".
Judge Hawkins said she accepted that Stewart was selling GHB to fund his own drug addiction.
The judge said she also took into account that the 28-year-old was an Aboriginal man who had a history of physical and emotional trauma.
Stewart had no medical or psychiatric diagnoses, Judge Hawkins said, but he did suffer from a "severe" drug addiction.
The court heard he was using 80ml of GHB per day at the time of his arrest.
Judge Hawkins said she took into account Stewart's early guilty plea and the difficult conditions he faced in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But she said drug trafficking could not be tolerated and his offending needed to be denounced.
Stewart was convicted and sentenced to 19 months in jail, with a non-parole period of 13 months. His 335 days of pre-sentence detention were reckoned as already served.
His licence was also suspended for 12 months.
If he did not plead guilty, Stewart would have been jailed for 30 months with a non-parole period of 22 months.
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