A HEROIN and Ice dealer who brought thousands of dollars worth of the illicit drugs to the Northern Rivers, and who involved a dozen other residents in her illegal trade, has been jailed for at least 15 years by Judge James Black of the Lismore District Court.
Maree Vera Collier, 49, of Sussex Inlet and Sydney, was found to be the major player and organiser of the criminal activities, and he sentenced her yesterday to 20 years’ jail, with a non-parole of 15 years.
Collier pleaded guilty to supplying commercial quantities of heroin and methylamphetamine into the region in 2007 and 2008.
‘‘The criminality was deliberate and persistent. It is not possible to calculate the harm this offender (Collier) has done, only that it was significant,” Judge Black said.
As a group of Collier’s female supporters, including her girlfriend, appeared shocked by the sentence (one blonde haired woman burst into tears), Collier did not display any emotion in the dock.
Judge Black said that only for her early guilty plea, Collier would have received a sentence of 26 or 27 years, as he had found the offences to be of the high range of seriousness.
With no Crown evidence to show Collier accumulated wealth from her drug activities, Judge Black found ‘the whole purpose of it was for 'financial gain’, but he did not find it was such that it amounted to an aggravating feature.
His Honour said because of the consequences of distributing such drugs State Parliament had passed its laws because of the grief caused to the community by such drug activities.
“It is well known it (drugs) not only causes unhappiness, breaks up families, but can lead to crime, and its effects on the health of those involved taking the substances,” he said. “Very unpleasant offences,” he added.
Defence barrister Nicolas Harrison acknowledged his client was not a drug user and that this could not be used as a mitigating factor.
“The majority of the money she was receiving was going up the front to the people who were supplying her,” he said.
Mr Harrison said that this was consistent with the fact that she had only been living off the money and not accumulating wealth.
Collier’s brother, Greg Collier, 57, of Campbelltown, who pleaded guilty to one count of supplying a prohibited drug, was sentenced to two years’ jail and ordered to serve the non-parole period of 12 months.
Mr Harrison put forward Greg Collier’s serious health issues, including asthma.
Although Greg Collier was found to be aware of the full extent of his younger sister’s drug activities, his role was put forward as being that of her ‘driver’– bringing his sister and her drugs to the Northern Rivers.
Another member of the drug syndicate, Ballina woman Annette Lloyd, will be sentenced later in the year.