Thomas Nickless, 27, was sentenced to eight months in prison for trying to bring illicit drugs into Australia through the dark web and for delivering them to a post office in Metung ‘s Victorian coastal hamlet. Over a period of nine months between May 2018 and February 2019, the Australia Border Force intercepted five packages addressed to Nickless, the Metung post office caretaker.
The parcels, which had been sent from the UK and the Netherlands, contained 61 grams of powder containing MDMA, 9.8 grams of cocaine-containing powder and 35.3 grams of amphetamine-containing fuel. Nickless had bought the drugs using cryptocurrencies.
“The alleged shipments were part of your small business bringing drugs into Australia by courier, picking them up at the Metung post office, using them yourself and selling small quantities to friends and associates,” County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said in sentencing.
“You told police that on 10 to 15 occasions you ordered drugs but only 10 came in,” said Judge Mullaly. Police searched Nickless ‘s home in Metung in March 2019, discovering a small quantity of cocaine, ketamine and Xanax, as well as four cannabis plants growing in a tank.
Judge Mullaly said that while the crime against Nickless was on the amateur end of the scale, he was consistent and generally successful in bringing drugs into the country and “had a small drug dealing company in East Gippsland chugging away.”
The court learned that Nickless had sustained extensive injuries and some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in November 2014, after crashing his car off the Metung Hotel on his way home from work. “It took a long time to recover from your injuries, and your drug and alcohol intake increased; your prior athletic activities were curtailed,” the judge said.
Judge Mullaly said the possibility that Nickless’s full-time job at Gippsland Ports would not be available as part of the Kalimna dredging crew when he was released from jail had prompted him to give the sentence “anxious thought.”
The judge said he had “anxiously weighed up” all the possibilities of sentencing to see if any options to jail were suitable but told Nickless that “in the end, seeking to bring drugs into this county at the level involved here, by you, for all your favorable personal circumstances is too serious for a non-custodial sentence to satisfy.”
Nickless pleaded guilty to seven charges, including attempts to import border-controlled drugs, and trafficking and possession offences.
He was sentenced to two years in jail, but as part of an order to gain acknowledgement, he would serve just eight months.