Teen's $180,000 drug business

POLICE searched Brendan Rickert's mobile phone and discovered he was a street level drug dealer who had a turnover of $180,000 in two years.

Investigators went through his phone, number by number, and Rickert admitted having 20 regular customers.

He sold marijuana for two years, and also sold ecstasy and methyl-amphetamines for six months.

He was just 17 years old when he started drug dealing.

He also would be contacted via Facebook by drug buyers, to arrange for purchases at his home or in public places, Crown prosecutor Chris Winlaw told the Supreme Court in Mackay yesterday.

Rickerts pleaded guilty to three drug-related charges including trafficking.

It was estimated he sold $50,000 worth of marijuana in Mackay, $78,000 worth of ecstasy and $52,000 worth of methyl-amphetamines, making a net profit estimated at $29,900.

While he had 10 to 25 regular customers, he sold drugs to about 50 people in all, including about 20 people aged around 17 years because they were his peers.

Rickert was aged 17 and 18 when he was a dealer.

He is now aged 19 and an apprentice mechanic.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Rickert, said the money was spent on alcohol and to buy food and other items.

"He has nothing to show for his offending," Ms Hartigan said.

"He was a street dealer, although not an insignificant one," she said.

When police asked him if he was a user he replied: "I don't use. I'm not that silly".

His youth, complete co-operation with police, references from 15 people and a good prospect for rehabilitation were in his favour, Ms Hartigan said.

Justice David North, SC, said it was very sad for the community and distressing for his family to see someone with Rickert's good prospects before a court on such serious charges.

He was jailed for five years, to be suspended after serving 18 months.

His pregnant girlfriend and family members wept as he was led out of court to start serving his sentence.


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