Undercover cop introduced to drug trafficker’s suppliers

Selling drugs to an undercover police officer was the beginning to the end of one Central Queensland drug trafficker’s freedom.

He also introduced the undercover officer to his suppliers.

Lesley John Harris, 35, pleaded guilty on March 17 in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton to one count of trafficking drugs.

Harris was detected during a Queensland Police Service operation, that started in April 2020, which targeted drugs in the region.

Harris was an initial person of interest.

Between May 7, 2020 and July 7, 2020, Harris supplied drugs to at least 20 people and described himself as a “busy businessman”, having supplied 14g on one day and requiring a further 14g within 24 hours to continue supplying his customers.

He was on parole at the time for prior offences.

During the 2020 trafficking period, Harris was approached by an undercover police officer who Harris supplied methamphetamines to on three occasions and arranged for a supply on the fourth occasion – 3.5 grams for $2500.

The undercover officer had attended a Livingstone Street address on May 8, 2020, and asked for Harris with Harris initiating the drug sale conversation.

While the officer was in Harris’ house, they observed clip-seal bags, scales, suspected meth and three monitors which showed CCTV cameras directed around the outside of the house.

They also heard a police communications scanner running.

Two other people attended the house for drug supplies while the undercover officer was there.

Harris provided the undercover officer with 1.436g of meth, and his phone number for future supplies.

The officer contacted Harris on May 11 with Harris supplying 3.5g of meth for $2000 of which he only made $50 profit.

A fortnight later, Harris supplied the officer with 1.75g of meth for $900, meeting at a new address in Bolsover Street, before heading to new suppliers in Parkhurst.

Harris supplied again on June 10 and during the exchange, the officer asked Harris if he could supply 14g to his friend.

Harris offered to supply 14g for $6000 or 28g for $12,000.

The court heard the last (fourth) supply did not occur as police executed a search warrant on Harris’ residence on July 6, 2020.

Police seized a bag containing 3.5g of Msn (cutting agent for meth) from the residence.

They also located two mobile phones belonging to Harris with an analysis revealing Harris supplied many customers with drugs, mainly meth.

Police had earlier executed search warrants on other targets and their residences on June 12, 2020, including one of Harris’ suppliers and a phone revealed an encrypted application which had been used for messages between the supplier and Harris.

Justice Graeme Crow said the encrypted messages showed Harris was sourcing large quantities of meth for on-sale.

Harris, who had a five-page criminal record prior to the trafficking conviction, had his first drug conviction recorded in 2016, moving fast up the charge ladder to possessing in excess of two grams of drugs and sentenced in the Supreme Court two years later.

Read more: Man reoffended days after being released on parole

Justice Crow said Harris had started using drugs in 2012 following a relationship breakdown and financial pressures, reaching the point of using two grams of meth per day.

He said Harris had attempted to move away from drugs from time-to-time, but when he found out a girlfriend had been unfaithful, he returned to using drugs.

Justice Crow sentenced Harris to 4.5 years prison with parole eligibility on April 5, 2022 and one day presentence custody declared as time served.

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