Jail for ice addict turned dealer

FOR Mooloolaba's Gregory Jon Loughman, dabbling in the drug ice proved even more addictive than heroin and ultimately cost him his freedom.

The 37-year-old pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to trafficking crystal meth.

The court heard that at the peak of his offending Loughman, who also occasionally sold marijuana and heroin, was sourcing ice from five suppliers and on-selling to 33 regular customers to support his own addiction.

This was despite the troubled addict being given three separate chances at bail and offered drug diversion in Maroochydore Magistrates Court for more minor offences.

Crown Prosecutor Megan Heywood said while Loughman was considered a "street level” dealer, he was caught in the middle of a police investigation into a major drug syndicate and had his "foot in the door of that much larger operation”.

He was also said to have a criminal history across NSW and Queensland littered with "terrible driving offences” several of which had resulted in suspended jail sentences and one term of actual imprisonment.

Defence barrister Simon Lewis said his client started using marijuana when he was 13 to deal with the deterioration of his family relationships.

Flashbacks of abuse he had suffered as a child helped escalate his drug use to heroin.

Mr Lewis said his client was starting to get his life back on track when his mother was diagnosed with dementia.

He said around the same time Loughman was employed by a travel booking company when a bit of ice with "after work drinks” turned into a "fully fledged addiction ... more consuming than heroin”.

He also said his client had the support of a partner who was in court to support him and sobbed as details of his addiction were read out.

Justice John Byrne said it was "amazing that it doesn't take long before (ice) users become addicts and it is extremely hard for anyone who becomes addicted to avoid relapse”.

He said he hoped Loughman would make the most of the programs offered in jail and would continue to seek support when he was released.

Loughman was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail.

He will be eligible to apply for parole on September 1, 2018.


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