Drug trafficker to work off proceeds of crime debt

A CONVICTED drug trafficker has been allowed to enter into a payment plan to pay back more than $103,000 after an investigation revealed he had benefited from his criminal offending.

Robert John Carruthers, 54, has 15 months to pay off the debt, otherwise he risks losing his Ravensbourne property, the location of his once-flourishing drug empire.

Carruthers pleaded guilty in 2010 to trafficking, producing and possessing marijuana following a major police operation and subsequent property raid on July 31, 2008.

Police found a highly sophisticated hydroponics system along with 8.2kg of dried marijuana, 240g of seeds, two weapons fitted with silencers and cash during the raid.

The drug seizure was one of the biggest in the region at the time.

Carruthers was subsequently sentenced in Toowoomba Supreme Court to five years behind bars but the term was suspended after he had served 20 months.

His battle with the law did not stop there.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission had earlier launched confiscation proceedings against Carruthers, claiming his property and asset portfolio had been derived from crime proceeds.

In court documents, which APN Newsdesk has viewed, the CMC launched the proceedings on July 31, 2008 and had the Ravensbourne property, cash, two vehicles and a box trailer in its sights.

The documents revealed a forensic accountant concluded Carruthers had trafficked between $145,000 and $210,000 worth of marijuana between January 2003 and August 2008 based on drug prices at the time.

The accountant said Carruthers had profited to the tune of at least $100,000 from his criminal activity despite his earlier claims stating he had made no more than $30,000 from his crimes.

Carruthers was given a reprieve with the court documents showing an agreement with the two parties had been struck on June 11, 2014, allowing him to pay off the debt if and when he sold his Ravensbourne property.

But Carruthers could not sell the property so the parties headed back to court to come up with a new arrangement.

In a hearing earlier this month, a second agreement between the two parties allowed Carruthers to start paying off the money in instalments.

Justice Glenn Martin ordered that if Carruthers did not pay the debt off before June 2016, the state would be allowed to seize his Ravensbourne property.

The court documents did not reveal how much the instalments were.

- APN NEWSDESK.



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