Terrified drug dealer sobs, calls ‘mum’ as he goes to jail
A terrified drug dealer sobbed and called out to his mother as he was dragged off to jail after he and a woman who smuggled 1600 MDMA caps internally and in her bra were hit with surprise prison sentences today.
The dramatic scenes unfolded in Sydney's Downing Centre court this afternoon as Julian Martusciello, 27, and Grace Poo, 23, learnt they were headed for prison.
As Judge Graeme Turnbull reached a point in his judgment when it became clear neither drug offender would receive community-based sentences they'd hoped for, Martusciello began to sob.
With chilling precision, six correctional officers carrying handcuffs entered the courtroom, as Martusciello and his mother wept.
Judge Turnbull pronounced that "starting today", Martusciello would be jailed for a maximum 18 months and Poo, who put her head in her hands but remained dry-eyed, would get two years.
The co-offenders had been free on bail after their May 2018 arrests for smuggling hundreds of the ecstasy pills into the Midnight Mafia Music festival at Sydney's Olympic Park.
Sobbing loudly, Martusciello stood up and leant through the glass window at the front of the dock and cried out, "I'm sorry Mum, I'm sorry Dad," and protested, "I'm not the same man."
As the prison officers moved to the dock to cuff both offenders and take them to the cells below, Martusciello cried out again and his mother moved towards him.
A male prison officer intercepted and told a distraught Mrs Martusciello to stay back as her son sobbed, "I love you Mum, I love you Dad. Stay strong Mum."
But it appeared it was Martusciello who needed to stay strong, after Judge Turnbull told the court "he's absolutely petrified of going to jail".
The prison terms, which the judge imposed for "general deterrence" and because of the tragic deaths of music festival drug takers, came after a lengthy sentence hearing.
It also came six days after another woman, 18, allegedly stashed up to 1000 MDMA caps internally and in her bra at last weekend's Epik music festival.
Today's hearing heard excruciating detail of the seven drug packages Poo secreted internally and in a "huge bra" bought at Martusciello's instruction.
In Facebook Messenger conversations, Martusciello told Poo to carry "two in the left boob, two in the right boob, and a small one downstairs".
Of their roles in the plot to sell the MDMA, Judge Turnbull said: "He was the supplier, she was his mule."
The court heard Poo had "no idea" how much of the drug she was carrying, other than it was "a lot", and that she had smuggled drugs into two other music festivals.
After drug sniffer dogs targeted Poo outside the festival at 4pm on May 5, 2018, the unemployed ex-childcare worker was taken away to a restricted area to retrieve the drugs.
She handed police seven packages, all wrapped in rubber condoms containing MDMA caps marked on the outside in black Texta with buyers' initials.
"JA" had 230 pills, "Tony and Paul" 150, "RY" 232, "K" 163, "J" 292, "K" 160, two unmarked packages had 87 and 213 capsules and one marked "Grace" had 40 caps.
The so-called "freebies" were part of Poo's payment for her role as drug mule.
Judge Turnbull remarked when sentencing Poo that she had previously pleaded guilty to drug transactions for the Knockout Circuz music festival in December 2017.
In encrypted messages between her and a dealer, Poo had negotiated a $15 per capsule profit.
When asked if she could handle smuggling in 3000 MDMA capsules, Poo told the dealer: "I brought in over a thousand to (music festival) Defcon once."
Martusciello pleaded guilty to drug supply after providing Poo with 213 of the capsules police found on her, and to taking part in the supply of 230 capsules, or 26.22 grams.
Poo pleaded guilty to supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited plant, and faced possibly 20 years' jail.
The judge also acknowledged Poo had a "chaotic childhood" living in refuges and dealing with a gambling addict mother.
She suffered "night terrors, depression … self harm" and had started using drugs at the age of 14.
The judge said he accepted Poo acted "out of need more than greed".
Martusciello, whose crimes had a maximum 15-year penalty, had less drugs than Poo, but he "had a higher role".
The court heard Martusciello came from a more comfortable background than Poo.
"This was not an isolated incident," Judge Turnbull said, "at the time of these offences he was someone well-embedded in the drug milieu."
But he noted that Martusciello was remorseful and believed he would not reoffend.
Poo will serve a minimum 12-month sentence before she is eligible for parole, while Martusciello will serve at least nine months.
Judge Turnbull said both offenders had excellent chances of rehabilitation.
The 18-year-old girl was arrested allegedly with 1000 MDMA pills at the Epik festival last week, and a 22-year-old man allegedly with 269 MDMA capsules in a condom in his underpants will face Burwood Local Court on January 14.