Aldi drug dealer needed cash for mortgage
A MAN caught dealing drugs in a supermarket car park has told a court he used the money to pay off the mortgage on his Sydney apartment.
Electrician Jesse Lindsay Holloway owns a $1.1 million apartment in Sydney's ritzy northern beaches suburb of Mona Vale. Just minutes from the beach and national parks Mona Vale's residents have an average income significantly above the city's average. Most of the cost of the flat had been paid off.
He appeared at the Downing Centre District Court earlier this week for a sentencing hearing.
In earlier court appearances, the chisel jawed Holloway was photographed looking sharp, donning shades and a casual shirt tucked out. But this week, he looked far more formal with a sensible blue suit and bookish specs.
He was convicted of 30 drugs related charges against him including supply of prohibited drug, possession of prohibited drugs and dealing with the proceeds of crime.
Holloway, 29, delivered the drugs to customers in an Aldi supermarket car park. In a sophisticated operation, involving sealed envelopes, consignment numbers and messages via an encrypted app, if customers put in orders by midafternoon he would deliver their choice of ecstasy or LSD later that night.
He told the court on Wednesday that he was a middleman between a much more significant dealer and those wanting drugs. He said he had no control over who the customers were and rather than taking a cut of the lucrative takings was simply paid a regular flat rate for his trouble.
But Judge Ian McClintock was unimpressed with his explanation that he was merely a lowly drug delivery man acting on higher orders.
"I don't believe it," he said suggesting Holloway was in fact running his own well-oiled machine. "I find the bare proposition incredible".
Holloway entered the sentencing hearing flanked by his parents. Taking the dock, he was so quiet at times both the judge and his own lawyer had to ask him to speak up.
Holloway's lawyer Lester Fernandez asked him why he hadn't identified to police the man he claimed organised the entire drugs enterprise.
"I didn't want any retribution to come from them. It would be risking my family," he said.
"I'm afraid that they will attack me and there will be some kind of consequence."
Holloway said he swerved from electrics to eccies because it, "made life easier".
"I became greedy, I could see I could make money getting drugs … I became more and more eager to make money."
Initially he supplied to mates and then, through a contact, he sourced MDMA, cannabis and LSD for others. But he maintained that he was a small cog in an elaborate dealing process.
His dealer, he claimed, gave him a mobile phone pre-loaded with contacts of customers who would reach Holloway via the encrypted Wickr messaging app.
In a drugs version of the supermarket click and collect service, orders submitted by 3pm would be delivered by Holloway between 6.30pm and 9.30pm at the underground car park of the Mona Vale Aldi.
"During the day I was working. So, I would deliver the drugs after I finished work," he said.
When the customers got in touch he would fill envelopes with the desired substances. The drugs and the prices were all set by his dealer, said Holloway.
The customers would hand over an envelope with the cash in. Both had order numbers written on them, claimed Holloway.
"He (my dealer) wanted to monitor what drugs I sold and how much money came back."
Rather than taking a cut of the sales, Holloway said he would get a lump sum of $2000 every one to two weeks.
If he'd had a good week he might get a bonus - not of money but of cocaine, MDMA or cannabis, which he could use himself or sell on.
"My addiction was pretty out of control. I would binge, 2-3 grams (of cocaine) at a time."
Aside from some cash on food and petrol, Holloway said the rest went on his home loan.
"I used the money to pay off the mortgage," he told Mr Fernandez. "I was trying to take shortcuts to make money."
Of his $1.1 million mortgage, Holloway said he had paid off $800,000. The average price for a unit in Mona Vale is $945,000 according to realestate.com.au.
"You paid a significant amount of your mortgage from what you made?" the prosecuting solicitor asked Holloway.
"It was reasonable amount," he replied.
"More than half."
"I had an inheritance. I had a significant deposit," Holloway insisted.
Holloway was arrested on October 24 last year in the Aldi car park after he had sold drugs to an undercover police officer.
The Manly Daily quoted court documents that stated it was believed he had bought the drugs off the dark web.
"Police submit the accused is highly organised and capable of supplying large amounts of prohibited drugs," court documents stated.
When police searched his house they found $5515 in cash and 22 different types of drugs including Ritalin, hallucinogens and steroids.
Continuing the retail analogy, Judge McClintock said, "I've seen shelves on the supermarkets with less products on them."
'I DON'T BELIEVE IT'
He said he had deep "scepticism" about Holloway's description of his narcotics career and accused him of "distancing himself" from the likely profit made.
"His account doesn't marry up with facts. I don't believe it.
"A more normal arrangement might be he takes the cash and benefits from it without the overarching intervention of a supplier who gives him his customers, takes the money and pays him a stipend."
As for the envelopes and order numbers, the judge said they could just as easily have been for Holloway's benefit: "That's what it is sometimes referred to as account book."
Mr Fernandez disagreed: "While it might not be what the court normally sees in terms of drugs supply, it doesn't disprove what Mr Holloway describes."
The judge said Holloway's actions - when contacted by a police officer posing as a customer - raised further questions about his story.
"The undercover officer contacts him, gives him the money and the money goes in his wallet.
"They're a stranger. How are they part of the list of people he's supposed to supply with? How is their money going into envelopes - it's not."
"I found the bare proposition incredible," said Judge McClintock.
Holloway has spent almost three months at a residential rehab facility where he said he had limited access to his family and girlfriend.
He will be sentenced on November 15.