The Canberra Times reports….
A Victorian man who used the Spirit of Tasmania to traffic drugs interstate has been jailed for at least five years.
Simon Ratcliffe, 42, packed more than $125,000 in cash within two pillowcases concealed in the passenger door of a car ferried from Tasmania to Melbourne in April.
Ratcliffe was arrested at his Altona Meadows home about three hours after picking up the vehicle and told police about the money stashed inside it.
“I was supposed to pass it on … you do you what you’ve got to do to get the drugs,” he said.
Police that day found ziplock bags containing more than 30 grams of cocaine and 10 grams of methamphetamine during a search of the man’s house.
The father of two had also mailed almost 240 grams of methamphetamine from a post box in southwest Melbourne to Tasmania in February.
Ratcliffe faced Judge Rachelle Lewitan on Monday via video link at the Victorian County Court, where he was sentenced to seven years in prison.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking a drug of dependence in a commercial quantity, one count of negligently dealing with the proceeds of crime and two counts of possessing a drug of dependence.
Judge Lewitan said the facts were “serious and disturbing” and the trafficking involved a degree of planning and sophistication.
However, she accepted Ratcliffe had shown no evidence of a lavish lifestyle or high living, with the drugs transported for personal use only.
“There was an absence of violence to enforce drug debts or any recruiting, (and) the offending was done on a needs basis rather than greed,” Judge Lewitan said.
Ratcliffe will be eligible for parole in five years and has already served 234 days in custody.