Young dealer jailed over mini meth empire

AN AMBITIOUS young drug dealer, who established an "intense" amphetamine business in under a month, has been sentenced to five years jail.

Blake Michael Bateman, 23, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday to more than 20 offences including trafficking in a dangerous drug, supplying drugs, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and fraud.

At the peak of his offending in March, 2015, the Toowoomba man sold more than $13,000 worth of high-quality amphetamines to 32 suppliers and 14 customers over 26 days.

Evidence seized from his home and phone revealed Bateman had offered credit and "samples" to potential customers in the hope they would become regulars.

The court heard Bateman's arrest for trafficking followed a dramatic fall from grace which had a young man with a clean criminal history transform into a three-time prisoner in little more than a year.

His parents wept as the court heard he had been granted bail on drug supply charges on three separate occasions between 2014-15 only to immediately return to the drug trade during his brief stints as a free man.

Bateman's own drug habit was said to be the driving force of his offending but the court heard he had since spent two months at a Mackay rehabilitation centre and was working to get his life back on track.

Justice Glenn Martin said while the trafficking period was not long, it was "intense.. above street dealer level" and Bateman's "overall story demonstrates a considerable degree of criminality".

Bateman was sentenced to five years in jail.

Taking into account the 14 months already served, Bateman's stint in rehab and his lack of criminal history, Justice Martin set parole eligibility as of Wednesday to give Bateman the best chance at an earlier release.

- ARM NEWSDESK



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