Drug kings dethroned: How cops brought down dealers
WITHIN the walls of a Booral home, three meth kingpins lived together and hatched drug dealing plans.
This, police say, was the base where much of the meth that would end up causing misery on the streets of the Fraser Coast, was packaged up and sent on a series of sales missions.
Two of the trio, Daryl David Hall and Ed Westphal, would book into Hervey Bay hotels and resorts and set up pop-up shops.
Followers on Hall's social media enjoyed seeing him referred to as the 'mayor' of Hervey Bay.
But this drug empire tumbled the night police raided a unit at Mantra Resort where Hall and Westphal were caught in the act.
As Hall was sentenced for drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm yesterday, Maryborough Supreme Court heard drugs and weapons were found inside the unit where a sleeping child lay nearby.
Hall, a 33-year-old father of three, received a tip off that the units would be raided and threw a package containing meth from the balcony of the unit, the court was told.
A homemade firearm was discovered on top of a bag.
Prosecutor Caroline Marco said Hall and Westphal, 44 had been under police surveillance with phone intercepts used to unravel their drugs operation.
They had at least 40 customers.
She said Hall was on parole when he joined the trafficking operation and for the 25 days he was involved, more than 60 grams worth about $7900 was sold.
Defence barrister Callan Cassidy said his client had a troubled background.
He had no memory of his father, who had died in prison when he was young.
Hall had been placed in foster care where he had been abused, Mr Cassidy said.
Later, he had also been abused at a youth detention centre.
The two incidents were said to have had a lasting impact on him and he was "very embarrassed, he feels ashamed".
Mr Cassidy said over the years, Hall had tried and failed to stay away from drugs and he was hopeful of remaining drug-free when he was released.
The court heard Hall had already spent 523 days in pre-sentence custody.
Judge Ann Lyons said it was "very concerning" Hall would use a hotel room for a drug trafficking operation, especially with a child present.
She sentenced Hall to seven years in prison with a parole eligibility date of July 7, 2021.
Westphal has pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and other related offences and will be sentenced in the next sitting of the Maryborough Supreme Court.
The third member of the Booral drug house, Troy James Nielson, 41, was also sentenced for drug trafficking this week.
As raids were carried out at the Mantra units where Hall and Westphal were busted, a simultaneous raid was carried out at the Booral property where the three lived.
Phone intercepts had also been used to uncover Nielson's drug offending, although he told police he was not involved with Hall or Westphal's operation.
According to court documents, Nielson had been involved in meth trafficking for a period of three months and 11 days, supplying drugs on at least 36 occasions.
At first he declined to speak with police, the court was told, but later changed his mind.
Nielson, who was on a disability pension, said he had been clean for five years but had started using drugs again due to stress as his wife was sick.
He was sentenced to four years in jail.
He had already spent 157 days in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole on September 7, 2021.