Ecstasy sale earns Byron man 18 months' jail

BENJAMIN Asange, a Byron Bay street dealer who sold ecstasy with a mate as 'a stop-gap' measure because they were destitute, has been jailed for 18 months.

In the Lismore District Court yesterday, Asange was convicted of supplying 1.86 grams of ecstasy in Jonson Street, Byron Bay, on September 1, 2007.

Asange, 28, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced by Judge James Black.

Crown evidence stated the amount involved nine ecstasy tablets, including six Asange was seen to throw on the ground at the time of his arrest.

Plainclothes police in an undercover operation watched Asange sitting in a flower bed at Railway Park while his co-accused, later described by Judge Black as the 'money man,' stood some distance away.

Two men entered the park and when one of them gave $100 to his co-offender, Asange handed over a tablet of ecstasy.

When police arrested Asange they found resealable plastic bags containing two ecstasy tablets.

Two small plastic bags on the ground held six ecstasy tablets.

Defence lawyer Tom Trembath said the pair had been at the lower end of the supply chain and funding their own activities because they were destitute.

Judge Black said he accepted their activities had been encouraged by others up the supply chain.

The co-offender has received a suspended sentence for his role in the offence.

Judge Black, in his sentencing, took into account the evidence that where the co-offender found a job, Asange instead went on to commit more offences while on bail, including stealing a car, entering a house with intent, two driving while disqualified, and smashing a car window and stealing food.

His fingerprints were found at the scene of two of the offences.

Asange was sentenced to 18 months, serving a minimum of 13 months.

He was disqualified from driving until 2018.

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