‘Misery on the streets’: Ryan Hill's likely sentence

 

A BRAZEN, savvy drug boss who poured more than a million dollars worth of "misery onto the streets" will likely be handed the single biggest jail sentence for a drug offender in Far North history.

Ryan Hill, 27, used the proceeds of his illicit crimes to buy cars, boats and a house, go on luxury overseas holidays, buy expensive gifts for his girlfriend and set up a fitness supplement business.

Judge Peter Applegarth is expected to deliver his sentence in the Cairns Supreme Court on Monday for the trafficking methylamphetamines, MDMA and cocaine for almost two years between 2016 and 2018.

Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane has called for "no less than" 14 years, while defence barrister Tony Glynn submitted between 12-13 years.

Cairns drug traffickers Matthew Hilton and Ryan Hill
Cairns drug traffickers Matthew Hilton and Ryan Hill

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This would likely outstrip the previous highest trafficking sentence handed down in the Far North, which was to wedding planner Narelle Malone who was jailed for 12 years earlier this year.

Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane conceded Hill's "persistent and enthusiastic" offending had a degree of "maturity" about it.

He was not a heavy user of the huge quantities of the substances he was dealing and he made purchases - such as a house - with the future in mind.

The former electrician was just 22 when his operation began and even went to the lengths of getting a former employer to pay him a fake wage, while getting about in hi-vis clothing to keep up the charade of a legitimate existence.

Unlike many "hapless drug addicts" who sell to fund their habits and struggle with the debt collecting arm of the business, Hill came out of it only in debt to his alleged supplier - Sydney businessman Kalid Kanj - only owing him $180,000, a drop in the ocean which potentially turned over around $2 million.

"This was a business that was significant even from the get go," Mr Crane said.

"There are commercial quantities of up to 1kg (of meth) being dispersed into the Cairns community over the course of the trafficking period.

"It is my submission that there was a theme flowing through Mr Hill's offending and that's greed."

Hill was originally charged with trafficking as part of an organised crime syndicate - of which the syndicate part was dropped on Wednesday after a short trial.

Mr Crane said "whatever label" Hill had now, he was "someone who it seems was very close to the top of the supply chain".

In fact the Major and Organised Crime Squad arresting officer Det Sgt Mick Vincent said they deduced that from the bargain basement prices Hill purchased his meth at - almost half what Cairns customers paid.

Ryan Hill will learn his sentence on Monday.
Ryan Hill will learn his sentence on Monday.

For more than a year Hill wheeled and dealt through Australia Post, the Sydney based courier Sandeep Dharan telling of sending multiple packages with 100g portions per week.

Dharan was sentenced to seven years for trafficking.

Then police swooped and intercepted three packages - one which was accidentally picked up by the unsuspecting mum of a co-offender Keiran Wilson's girlfriend whose house was made a delivery point.

But despite no doubt realising the "net was closing" Hill was not deterred, roping in local Toll operations manager Jamie Payet who he met at Fasta Pasta, to find an alternative delivery method.

Payet was sentenced to six years for trafficking.

Over six months 65 packages were sent between Sydney and Cairns - 44 of which carried drugs into the Far North in quantities of meth up to 1kg.

Mr Crane said he used multiple other strategies for trying to stay under the radar - distributing special phones to his co-offenders which could be remotely wiped - one of which occurred in front of police while they had co-offender Matthew Hilton, 33, in custody.

Hilton was jailed for 10½ years for trafficking.

He would speak on the phones, only arranging places to meet up and chat, and he buried PVC piping filled with drugs and cash at his father's Gordonvale property.

"He was clearly engaging family to avoid detection," Mr Crane said. He said deterrence in this case was absolutely vital in sentencing before asking for a sentence of "no less than" 14 years.

"When (the community) see people like Mr Hill flashing all the things he had … and that was from the sale of drugs, the deterrence aspect of that has some force," he said.

Defence barrister Tony Glynn called for a sentence of between 12-13 years, particularly based on Hill's young age and the lack of violence "in the conduct of the business".

Justice Applegarth is due to hand down his sentence on Monday.

Originally published as 'Misery on the streets': What sentence Ryan Hill will likely get


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