Jury told of detective's drug deals
7 Jul 2006
The NZ Biker
A senior Victorian drug squad detective "manipulated and misused" his position for financial gain by trafficking drugs to bikers and the underworld, a jury has heard.
The Supreme Court was also told yesterday that Wayne Geoffrey Strawhorn, a detective senior sergeant had threatened to kill a fellow officer.
Strawhorn, 50, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of trafficking pseudoephedrine, one in a commercial quantity, between October 28, 1999, and May 19, 2000. He has also pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill Peter De Santo, on March 15, 2003. Mr De Santo was attached to the force's ethical standard department and was investigating alleged corruption within the drug squad.
Senior Crown prosecutor Ray Elston, SC, told the jury that Strawhorn's trial would give them "introductory glimpses into Melbourne's criminal underworld".
"In the trial you will learn of a side of life that you will only have read about in the paper over breakfast," Mr Elston said. "You will hear of people, some of whom have been murdered in recent years, others who have really walked with those people in what can only be described as shadowy existences."
Mr Elston said Strawhorn "became a criminal" and used third parties to sell pseudoephedrine to Mark Moran — who was later murdered — and the Bandidos motorcycle club through unauthorised police purchases for inflated prices.
The jury was told pseudoephedrine could be bought by drug squad officers for $170 a kilogram from a pharmaceutical company and then sold on the blackmarket for $10,000 a kilogram. Mr Elston said this created "the potential for corruption among police officers and those who handled the large sums of money generated".
Mr Elston said there was evidence that Strawhorn personally gained from drug trafficking and there was "a significant amount" of income. "The accused's expenditure exceeds by a sizeable amount his known and identifiable sources of income, and there will be evidence from analysts and accountants in that regard," he said.
Mr Elston said that during the time of the alleged offences, Strawhorn was second-in-command of one of the drug squad's three units. "For all intents and purposes, he ran the operations," Mr Elston said.
The jury was told Strawhorn "bore considerable ill-will to Mr De Santo" and blamed him for the inquiry that, in effect, ended his career. "The bottom line is my life in the police force is over. My hope to get that 30-year pension is gone," Strawhorn allegedly told an associate. "They've fucked me terribly and I will not rest until De Santo is dead." Mr Elston said when Strawhorn was asked if he was going to kill Mr De Santo, Strawhorn allegedly said: "Yeah, I have to, it is the only way to get satisfaction.