Drug-dealing dad jailed after major meth bust
An ice-addicted father of four has been jailed for his role as a street dealer in a major meth ring that had been supplying the drug in the Grafton and Coffs Harbour regions.
Michael 'Bags' Rafferty, 34, is behind bars following his sentencing in Coffs Harbour District Court this week, which was heard alongside one of his co-offenders Aaron Taylor.
Former Grafton footy star Taylor - who has also been jailed for drug supply - was one of three major suppliers who had shipped up to 1.5kg of meth in eight drug runs from Sydney across a three-month period in 2019.
Strike force detectives had surveilled the men from August to November 2019, using covert technologies including mobile phone tapping.
Rafferty was however identified as a low-level street dealer - with court documents revealing he consumed up to 3.5g of ice daily. He purchased up to $27,190 worth of the drug from his co-accused over 30 days, between September and October 2019.
Rafferty, who has an extensive criminal history, pleaded guilty to two counts of drug supply - having purchased the ice both for his own use and to sell a portion on the streets.
Documents state that after the co-accused suppliers were arrested in November, police executed a search warrant at a South Grafton home where Rafferty was residing.
He had attempted to escape, but was restrained on the kitchen floor after police forced their way in. He has remained in custody since.
In court this week it was heard that Rafferty's drug dependence had worsened in 2019 as he grappled with feelings of "guilt" over the death of his five-month-old son to SIDS.
Rafferty had been in custody for a prior offence at the time and had never met his son, with court documents revealing the first time he had seen him was when he dressed his "frozen body" in the morgue.
The court heard Rafferty had never been employed and was in and out of jail, with his criminal history dating back several years. His slew of convictions included break and enters, assault, drug possession, police pursuit and more.
In handing down a sentence, Judge Jonathan Priestley noted that Rafferty had expressed a desire to change his life - finding a life of crime was "exhausting."
Judge Priestley said that despite his history, there was a chance he could be rehabilitated.
"The offender does show remorse and some insight, and recognises his wrongdoing," Judge Priestley said.
"In the face of his record, and his background, the high likelihood of reoffending is soundly based. Yet that is also linked to substance abuse.
" … I am prepared to accept the prospects of rehabilitation are better now than previously."
Rafferty was convicted and sentenced to two years and nine months jail with a non-parole period of 17 months.
He will be eligible for release in May due to time already served in custody.