A drug supplier in a major Queensland trafficking syndicate, who roped his former fitness model partner into his criminal activity, will spend at least two years in jail.
At the peak of his operation, Jason Atkins was making hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from his street-level trade of the party drug MDA across Brisbane.
But when supplies dried up, his then Instagram-famous girlfriend and fitness model Mary Molloy was enlisted to help recover drug debts.
Fronting Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday, Atkins received a seven year jail term for charges of trafficking drugs and contravening an order about information necessary to access information stored electronically.
Justice Helen Bowskill allowed parole eligibility after two years, taking into account Atkins’ mental health and personal circumstances.
The 35-year-old, who had entered guilty pleas back in March, shared a kiss with his new girlfriend before entering the dock.
Crown prosecutor Michael Gawrych told the court of Atkins’ lucrative business operation in the party drug trade between 2016 and 2018, which he sourced from a contact in Sydney.
Mr Gawrych said the drug trade was profitable for Atkins, whose bank accounts at times displayed transfers of up to $200,000.
After a significant stockpile of pills were seized from a Brisbane address in November 2017, Atkins became worried he would be unable to meet debts and would face repercussions.
“This resulted in him liquidating various assets, including a significantly valuable engagement ring that was in the possession of his partner”, Mr Gawrych said.
“He engaged her in assisting him in the trafficking business where she chased debts owed.”
The pair – who had broken up prior to their arrest – were arrested at separate properties in Teneriffe and Newstead in April 2018.
Atkins refused to give police the passcode to his phone during the arrest.
Defence lawyer Arjun Chhabra said Atkins was not considered a “kingpin” in the drug trade.
He said his client had a difficult upbringing, rife with bullying and a difficult home life, and he had struggled with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation.
Mr Chhabra said Atkins had attempted suicide twice before his arrest.
He told the court Atkins was seeking treatment for his mental health issues and his new partner had helped keep him off drugs.
In handing down a seven-year jail term, Justice Bowskill said a serious message of deterrence needed to be sent to the community.
“I cringe when I hear the word ‘party drug’ being used,” Justice Bowskill said.
“It might seem fun at some point in people’s lives but we see day in, day out in this court the misery and destruction being caused by drugs like these.”
Molloy was convicted and handed a three year suspended sentence in April for her involvement with Atkins’ business, pleading guilty to a raft of charges that included supplying and trafficking dangerous drugs and failing to properly dispose of a needle.
The now-married Molloy had more than 70,000 followers on her Instagram account prior its deletion.