Former Bachelorette contestant spared jail over 144-kilogram drug haul
A former Bachelorette "star" caught in a car filled with cannabis has been spared jail, ordered to stay off drugs and complete community service.
Samuel Colin Minkin, 30, was charged with supplying prohibited drugs after police pulled him over in a Toyota Hiace he had recently purchased with someone else's money but using his own name.
The nine boxes and the 322 individually vacuum-sealed cannabis packages carefully packed inside weighed more than 144 kilograms when police pulled the van over on the M1 motorway north of Byron Bay.
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The Crown accepted Minkin was a passenger and not aware of the exact quantity of the drugs, but did know it was significantly more than the 25-kilogram threshold for a commercial quantity.
Minkin and a co-offender had recently begun using dedicated encrypted devices on the AnOm platform days before their arrest in May 2021.
Back then, criminals thought it was protecting them from surveilling authorities when it was actually allowing the Australian Federal Police and the FBI to monitor all their communications.
Minkin was not alone in being caught up in Operation Ironside, but his offending was "towards the bottom end of the mid-range of objective seriousness", Judge Warwick Hunt said, sentencing him in the NSW District Court on Monday.
However, Minkin's smaller crimes were attracting outsized attention.
"Mr Minkin has some limited social and media notoriety apparently as a result of him being engaged in a reality TV show," the judge said.
"He is described in various articles as being a 'Bachelorette star' which is a reference to the reality TV show that apparently gave him some media profile."
Minkin delighted co-bachelorettes Becky and Elly Miles with his trademark dolphin impression upon arriving at the mansion in 2020.
Unfortunately, his hopes for love were dashed, booted off the show in episode one.
Articles reporting Minkin's demise during wide publicity of Operation Ironside also appeared alongside stories covering paedophiles and bikies, adding to a "general feeling of odium", the judge said.
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"Additionally, to have one's reputation perhaps irretrievably linked to criminal misdeeds itself does some more of the work of specific deterrence in this particular case," the judge said, ordering Minkin to stay off drugs and complete 400 hours of community service during his two-year intensive corrections order.
Minkin also pleaded guilty to possessing a small amount of ketamine, however his conviction resulted in no additional punishment.
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