A SPEED kingpin has claimed almost all of the $1 million cash he buried in bundles across his Mooloolah Valley property came from lucrative pizza and car businesses.
William Fredericis Barker, 50, told the Brisbane Supreme Court he could not remember when he buried the packages, but testified at his contested sentence that they were cash reserves from businesses that he ceased operating about 1997 and 2007.
The court heard the majority of the 656 notes picked randomly from 20,083 notes uncovered during a police search were manufactured in 2008 and 2009.
Justice Peter Flanagan said the suggestion the buried cash - totalling $995,250 - were from old businesses "seems to beggar belief".
"I don't accept your client's evidence in relation to the cash reserves from the pizza business or from the car business. I don't believe him," he said.
Police found cash - many stacks cryovacked and then carefully wrapped in duct tape - beneath shipping containers, inside wall cladding, in shopping bags buried inside a plastic drum and inside other items.
Barker pleaded guilty to drug trafficking with four key customers on-selling to people in the Bundaberg, Warwick and Sunshine Coast regions.
Under questioning from his own barrister Tony Kimmins about "skimming" cash from those businesses, Barker said he ended the Pizza Hut businesses in about 1997 and was then unemployed for about a year.
Barker said he then ran a car sales business for about 12 years but sold the land for $2.3 million in December, 2007.
He agreed he was selling speed for $3000 an ounce during the six months police were monitoring him but refused to accept he was trafficking much longer than that.
Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden suggested police did not find all the cash Barker had hidden on his property.
She recited an alleged conversation where he was bragging about having more buried.
"I don't recall," he said.
It was a popular phrase for him throughout the day.
"It may well have but, you know, I didn't, I could have, I can't, I can't give you a straight answer to that cos I don't actually recall," he said when asked about whether the cash was buried in 2008-09.
Ms Farnden submitted that Barker was deliberately vague about his conduct before police phone intercepts and that his evidence about obtaining cash from a legitimate source could not be accepted.
Barker said a $100,000 cheque from co-accused Paul Stainer, who was sentenced to 11 years jail, was the return of a loan, not drugs.
"You needed to lend someone money who had a $5 million drug trafficking business going?" Ms Farnden asked.
"He had a few properties and financial difficulty, I was lending him money. I've known the bloke for 20 years," Barker said.
Stepson Ben Henderson, who said he considered Barker his father, told the court he woke up every morning to his mum and "Bill" counting cash at breakfast that he assumed were takings from the pizza businesses.
Stepdaughter Irini Hondroudkis said the kids were told not to use the dryer and when they looked inside they found a huge amount of cash.
Barker tried to argue no more than $200,000 of the cash was from drug trafficking.
Justice Flanagan found the trafficking period was at least from July 1, 2008, to April 22, 2009, and he could infer the bulk of the cash found on the property and the $1.8 million unexplained income was from drug trafficking.
"There was a close-knit fully operational criminal syndicate," he said.
"It would stagger belief that the period of trafficking did not commence months before the telephone intercepts."
Justice Flanagan, noting the way the cash was maintained, said he doubted Barker would have "gone to the steps which he did for the purpose of secreting money" from the tax office as his defence had suggested.
Barker accepted his drug trafficking must have begun "a few months" before police intercepts in October 2008.
- APN NEWSDESK