Money in the pocket.
Money in the pocket.

Drug kingpin lures in local dealer with ‘flashy lifestyle’

A MAN who acted as an 'agent' for an elaborate Townsville drug ring was used and abused by the kingpin.

James Robert Wickham, 25, was sucked into the "flashy lifestyle" of drug trafficking after meeting a man through friends.

The Townsville District Court heard he formed a partnership with the man.

Wickham worked as an agent depositing money into bank accounts, buying Bitcoin and placing drug orders on the dark web for the man.

Between June 26, 2017 and December 1, 2017 Wickham trafficked 100 pounds of cannabis.

The cannabis was estimated to total $400,000 with a turnover in the range of $100,000 to $178,000, the court heard.

Defence barrister Claire Grant said her client ceased his involvement over a falling out.

"He acted as an agent being paid a weekly wage … and the promise of substantial profit which never availed," she said.

"(He) removed himself from the enterprise in circumstances … where he was fearful, he was afraid when threats had been made against him if he did not continue."

The court heard once Wickham removed himself from the syndicate he started his own enterprise.

James Robert Wickham, 25, trafficked 100 pounds of cannabis.
James Robert Wickham, 25, trafficked 100 pounds of cannabis.

From February 28, 2018 to August 8, 2018, Wickham supplied his own customers.

On August 6, 2018 police seized a package at the Brisbane Australia Post mail centre addressed to a fictitious name at Wickham's address.

Police executed a search warrant the next day and found cannabis, cocaine, MDMA, Xanax tablets and $6050 cash.

Crown prosecutor Dom Orr said Wickham's personal trafficking enterprise was the most serious charge.

"The defendant cannot be appropriately characterised as simply a lackey," she said.

"It was the defendant who brought the business to prowess which saw it transpire in the way that it did."

He pleaded guilty to eight charges including two counts of trafficking in dangerous drugs.

It was noted that while Wickham was conducting the trafficking, he was on good behaviour bond for possessing drugs.

Judge John Coker commented he understood Wickham had been sucked into trafficking "by the glamour or prestige" of the lifestyle.

"You had a real interest not to supply yourself with drugs but rather perhaps seek some of the financial gains and benefits that come from the trafficking and supply of such substances," he said.

Wickham was sentenced to two years' jail, to serve four months.

A parole release date was set at April 7, 2021.

Originally published as Drug kingpin lures in local dealer with 'flashy lifestyle'