Keno $1 million winners in jail for drug trafficking

WINNERS: Rockhampton's Aaron and Lola check their winning Keno ticket at Raffles Hotel in Berserker.
WINNERS: Rockhampton's Aaron and Lola check their winning Keno ticket at Raffles Hotel in Berserker. Kara Paradies

A MAN who won $1 million on Keno five years ago and invested the money in real estate is off to jail for drug trafficking.

Both he and his co-accused, who was the "ringleader" of the operation, were sentenced to prison in the Rockhampton Supreme Court yesterday.

READ MORE HERE: Last minute decision leads to $1.1M win for kitchen hand

Aaron Robert Britten pleaded guilty to 10 different charges including one for drug trafficking, two for possession of dangerous drugs, one of possessing property suspected of being the proceeds of an offence, and four charges of possessing drug utensils.

His co-accused and de facto of seven years, Lola Lorraine Bradley, pleaded guilty to four charges including one of trafficking, two of possessing a dangerous drug and one of possessing a drug utensil.

The charges were laid after police raided the couple's Thozet Rd property on June 10 last year where they found evidence of drug trafficking between April 1, 2016 and June 10, 2016.

The court heard two mobile phones were seized and analysis showed Britten had about 15 customers while Bradley had 21 and the amounts of drugs dealt to individual clients were of a "street level" trafficking level.

It was also revealed that police found a bag with $2,444 in cash, 2.38 grams of meth and over 15 grams of cannabis.

Bradley's defence solicitor Ross Lo Monaco pointed out her self-rehabilitation efforts since the pair were charged for trafficking, though Britten had re-offended within a month of being released on bail.

Britten's Legal Aid defence lawyer Scott Moon said his client, who left school before completing Year 10 due to bullying, returned to dealing drugs after being released on bail as he had accumulated a debt.

Mr Moon said his client did not think at the time to sell any of the four properties he owns which were purchased after winning $1.1 million on Keno at Raffles Hotel in November 2012 - including two rentals.

"He supports his mother who resides in one of his properties," he said.

Mr Lo Monaco told the court Bradley's mother died in 2011 and her father died in March 2016, which sent her on a downward spiral including abusing drugs.

Mr Moon said this death also impacted Britten as Bradley's father had lived with the couple for sometime.

Mr Lo Monaco said Bradley had maintained full-time employment since leaving school, including working for CQ Leagues Club for eight years.

She then worked at Berserker Tavern for five months where she was found to have stolen $600.

Justice Duncan McMeekin referred to this matter in handing down his sentence. Bradley had been placed on 18-months' probation, but no conviction was recorded.

"She made full restoration," Mr Lo Monaco said.

"She first became involved casually with the use of cannabis for many years before she met Aaron. When they got together, she was aware he was a user (of cannabis).

"It was not until her father passed away last year that she got into harder drugs."

The court heard Bradley was the first in the relationship to start dealing, with both supplying mainly to family and friends.

"She (Bradley) didn't really make much money out of these dealings."

He said what money was made was used to purchase more drugs and to support her own drug habit with ice.

"In her words, this has wrecked her life," Mr Lo Monaco said.

Britten had previously appeared in court for drug offences including a fine in 2010 and further drug related charges in 2012 and 2013.

Bradley had been sentenced to a six-month good behaviour order in 2012 for drug possession and possession of a drug utensil.

Mr Moon said prison was lingering over his head the last time he offended, which led to a period of three years and three months between the 2013 offence and the offences before the Supreme Court yesterday.

Britten had served eight months in custody prior to sentencing, undertaking a first aid course and adult resilience course, along with working as a cleaner, Mr Moon told the court.

Bradley did not serve any time in custody prior to sentencing.

Justice McMeekin sentenced Britten to four years jail and Bradley to a three-year prison term for the drug trafficking charge.

Both are eligible for parole on November 8, 2017.

Bradley received no further punishment for the other three charges, but Britten was also sentenced to a 12-month prison term to be served concurrently for the charges of possessing property suspected of being from the proceeds of an offence, three drug utensil charges and one for disobeying the order of a police officer.

"You are in a unique position to anyone I've ever dealt with of being a millionaire," Justice McMeekin said.

"You did not have to take up dealing drugs. That was your choice.

"Trafficking in drugs is an evil trade. It harms others."

Topics:  drug trafficking editors picks keno

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