Airport drug smuggler denied appeal

A GLADSTONE drug trafficker, who tried to smuggle $25,000 worth of ice through a Queensland airport, has failed in an appeal of his 10-year jail sentence.

Matthew Lewis Abbott, 40, claimed the punishment handed down in Rockhampton Supreme Court last year was too "harsh”.

The Court of Appeal heard Abbott was already on bail for drug trafficking when he was caught with 191grams of meth and 1.132g of pure cocaine strapped to his legs at Mackay Airport in August, 2015.

He told police he planned to sell the meth for $25,000. Checks of his mobile phone revealed seven people owed Abbott about $33,000.

At the time, Abbott was supplying a major Central Queensland drug chain.

His next in line was dealer Matthew John Andrew who sold at least 133g of meth over five months.

The court heard Abbott had previously been a successful surfboard shaper but had succumbed to drug addiction following the death of his mother in the late 90s.

Things got worse when Abbott lost everything in the global financial crisis.

But the sentencing judge at the time said Abbott had effectively been a "wholesale supplier” and despite being on bail, he had "re-engaged in trafficking in a very substantial way”.

Abbott claimed the sentence was "unduly harsh and excessive” and wrongly placed him in the category of a "serious violent offender”, which means he must serve at least 80% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

He argued a sentence of eight to nine years with parole eligibility after three to four years was fair.

The Court of Appeal panel found however that Abbott's continued offending on bail was an "aggravating factor” and the high-level trafficking "warranted a heavy deterrent penalty”.

The appeal was dismissed.

Abbott will be eligible for parole in 2024.


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