Cookie monsters in court for dealing in LSD

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    POLICE urged a magistrate to make an example of a pair of drug traffickers dealing in Geelong's new problem drug, LSD.

    The duo was among a group caught in a recent police sting which uncovered Tiny Teddies coated in the psychedelic drug, along with ecstasy, cannabis, guns and knives.

    Police phone taps netted both William Benfield 26, and Hayden Muir 23, discussing drug deals with alleged syndicate master-mind Dominic Battaglia.

    As the pair faced sentencing in Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday, Crown prosecutor Raylene Maxwell pressed magistrate Ron Saines to come down hard.

    "These drugs are becoming particularly in this area far too prevalent," she said of LSD.

    Traffickers caught dealing this drug should come to fear they will face "the most serious end of the sentencing range", she said.

    Mr Saines told both Benfield and Muir that traffickers were "despised" figures but stopped short of handing out an immediate jail term.

    "The trafficking of drugs in other parts of the world is punishable by death," he told Benfield.

    He repeated the line to Muir to illustrate how "drug trafficking is detested not only by lawmakers but by communities."

    The court heard phone taps picked up Mr Battaglia arranging to purchase 60 tabs of LSD valued at $780 from Benfield on March 12.

    Benfield paid Mr Battaglia a visit hours later and police allege Mr Battaglia soon began to text contacts to offer LSD.

    Police found a quarter of an ounce of cannabis and two cannabis plants when they arrested Benfield at his Belmont home in late March.

    He pleaded guilty to trafficking LSD and cultivating cannabis.

    Duncan Ferguson, for Benfield, said his client effectively became a middle-man for his alleged cannabis dealer, Battaglia, and another friend who sold LSD.

    Benfield's ongoing employment and a lack of prior convictions helped him escape an immediate jail term, Mr Saines said.

    He sentenced Benfield to three months imprisonment suspended for two years and fined him $1000.

    A police raid on Muir's Anglesea home uncovered two small bags of speed and an ecstasy pill stashed in his cupboard.

    He made full admissions to purchasing the drugs for himself and friends.

    "He did not understand that sourcing drugs for other people with their money was trafficking ... he does now," said Mr Ferguson, for Muir.

    Mr Saines accepted Muir had co-operated with police and that his dealing was not a "significant commercial enterprise".

    He convicted Muir and fined him $4000 but left him with a stern warning.

    "You have been as close as you could possibly be to a sentence of imprisonment here,"he said.

    Joel Cresswell

    June 26th, 2010

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