Ashamed: Paul Sweeney hides his face behind a bag leaving Lismore Court House after pleading guilty to drug charges.
Ashamed: Paul Sweeney hides his face behind a bag leaving Lismore Court House after pleading guilty to drug charges. Ross Irby

Sold drugs to pay off mum's bills

A WOODBURN motel manager has told the Lismore District Court he sold commercial quantities of heroin and methylamphetamine in his role with a major Northern Rivers drug syndicate to pay bills for his mother’s financially strapped motel.

The Crown is alleging the criminal enterprise sold many kilos of both drugs on the Northern Rivers.

Paul Sweeney, 41, was one of eight people appearing before Judge James Black yesterday to face serious drug charges involving the 15-member drug syndicate.

Sweeney pleaded guilty to supplying the heroin and methylamphetamine (commercial quantities) at Woodburn and other parts of NSW between January 1, 2008, and August 23, 2008.

“I was having great financial difficulty at the time,” Sweeney replied to a question from his defence counsel, Mark Dennis, as to why he became involved in selling drugs.

“I was not being paid regularly. I paid the bills at the motel and it fed us.”

Sweeney said he only earned around $8000 from the drugs, with $3000 left with his mother who was not told where the money came from.

“I feel embarrassed about myself. It was something I had not dreamed of doing,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney, now working as a spray painter at n the Newcastle dockyard, revealed that he got involved after he was ‘made an offer’ by regular guests at the Woodburn motel.

Sweeney and other members of the syndicate will be sentenced today.

Also before the court was Ballina businessman and mechanical workshop owner Steven Dimaio, 49, regarded by the Crown as a minor player, who pleaded guilty to supplying heroin (not a commercial quantity) between December 31, 2007, and August 23, 2008; and supplying methylamphetamine (not a commercial quantity).

Dimaio’s wife, Annette Lloyd, appeared in custody and pleaded guilty to more serious charges of supplying commercial quantities of heroin and methylamphetamine at Ballina and Woodburn between December 31, 2007, and August 23, 2008.

His mother-in-law, Shirley Lloyd, 69, a grandmother who like Dimaio remains on bail, pleaded guilty to supplying commercial quantities of both heroin and methylamphetamine.

Trevor Wavell Ballinger,of Lismore, pleaded guilty to the supply of 59 grams of methylamphetamine at Lismore between February 22, 2008, and May 8, 2008.

Yolande Moloney pleaded guilty to the supply of both heroin and methylamphetamine. The alleged brains behind the drug group, Maree Vera Collier, of Sussex Inlet and Sydney, and her brother, Greg Paul Collier, who faces less serious charges, will both be sentenced next Thursday after being excused by Judge Black to allow them to attend the funeral of their sister in Sydney today.

The remaining seven people facing drug charges are due before the court later this year.



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