Trafficker in jail for $1.4 million ice haul at Cardwell

Mark James Hier was serving a suspended five-year sentence for trafficking cannabis when he was pulled over at Cardwell and found with the ice, along with $75,000 cash, in September 2011.

The seizure, which drug detectives said was the largest ever in the region at the time, led to further charges after police found $311,000 of suspected drug money in Hier’s bank accounts.

Heir was sentenced over the latest trafficking yesterday in the Cairns Supreme Court, where he also received punishment for Commonwealth offences of importing commercial quantities of the “date rape” drug GBL in 2010.

“It’s a substance and it has some legitimate uses, mainly as a cleaning agent, often advertised as a wheel cleaner, but it also has illicit purposes,” said Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Dalton.

“GBL metabolises and becomes a sedative – the so-called date ‘rape drug’ also known as liquid ecstasy.”

The court heard Hier purchased 2L of GBL from a Polish website but the contraband was found by customs at Cairns Airport before it was delivered to his apartment on Cairns Esplanade.

Justice Henry questioned the delay in Hier being charged, but acknowledged detectives had stretched resources and required time to search Hier’s computer records.

“They decided they were going to charge him when they had slam-dunked a year-and-half earlier? Unbelievable,” Justice Henry said.

He also acknowledged the court process had been stalled because of mental health issues stemming from Hier’s nine self harm attempts in prison, including at least one occasion in which he swallowed razor blades.

State prosecutor Joe Crawfoot said the ice, also known as crystal methylamphetamine, was 74 per cent pure and had a potential street value of $1.4 million.

Justice Henry pointed out the high-purity drug was of “wholesale” quantity, and would be worth more if “stomped on” as it was passed down the dealing hierarchy.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Goan from the Cairns Drug Squad said if sold in 0.1g “points” the drug would be worth “potentially twice that” of the estimated $1.4 million.

Hier, a Welsh national, will face deportation once released.

His parole eligibility date was fixed to yesterday, with Justice Henry factoring in the two-and-a-half years he had spent in non-declarable pre-sentence custody arising from earlier convictions.


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