Neighbours had no idea of man's 'substantial' drug operation

SOUTH Golden Beach man Leo William Derrey has pleaded guilty to drug supply charges.
SOUTH Golden Beach man Leo William Derrey has pleaded guilty to drug supply charges. file

A MIDDLE aged man from whose home police seized 8kg of cannabis and $7000 in cash has pleaded guilty to drugs charges.

Leo William Derrey was arrested on February 17 after police raided his South Golden Beach property and located 56 cannabis plants, cannabis seeds, and cash.

Investigations revealed that the 53-year-old was cultivating cannabis plants at the premises.

Derrey appeared in the Byron Bay Local Court yesterday where his lawyer Kim Ivosevac said he was not a "career criminal" and his offending was tied to a period of "great difficulty" in his life, both personally and financially.

She also said his activities were fairly low-key, as his neighbours had "no idea" of what was going on their street.

However, Magistrate Michael Dakin said Derrey was involved in illicit drug activities to a "substantial degree".

He said the fact neighbours were ignorant about Derrey's drug operation was a "double edged sword" because it reflected a "certain level of sophistication".

He also dismissed the suggestion that Derrey be considered for a suspended jail sentence at this point in proceedings, saying the request was based on an "assumption".

Instead he suggested that Derrey submit to an assessment report for an intensive corrections order.

"I think the court would be assisted by background material... I cannot make it any clearer," he said.

"This is not a small matter, this is a substantial matter."

Derrey has pleaded guilty to dealing with the proceeds of crime under $10,000, supplying an indictable quantity of cannabis, drug possession, using electricity without authority, and supplying a prohibited drug.

He will be sentenced in the Byron Bay Local Court on April 20.

Topics:  northern rivers crime south golden beach

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