Bankrupt Rocklea car dealer mysteriously earns $300K

THE owner of a Rocklea car dealership devastated by the floods was caught supplying $50,000 worth of chemicals to a drug producer.

Flooding financially crippled Hai Than Phan's business, an apparent trigger that caused Phan to supply 1kg of ephedrine for $50,000 to a drug producer to make methylamphetamine.

Mystery also surrounds $300,000 of unexplained income Phan had earned in just seven months.

The cook up by the Ripley drug producer was not successful and the offender was jailed.

But Phan was caught after being filmed supplying ice to the producer by a hidden camera inside the Ripley house.

The Ipswich District Court heard Phan, 38, arrived as a child refugee with his family from Vietnam in 1985 and that he and his siblings made successful lives for themselves.

Defence barrister Craig Eberhardt said Phan struggled after floods inundated his Rocklea second hand car dealership in 2011, 2015 and 2017 and could not get insurance.

The business collapsed in 2017.

Because of financial pressure, Phan began using the drug ice in 2013 and 2014 but was now clean following his arrest in 2014.

At the time he became involved with the convicted Ripley drug producer named in court as Richard Johnson, also known as Robert Honeysett.

Phan, from Calamvale, pleaded guilty to unlawfully supplying a relevant substance, 1kg of ephedrine at Ripley to be used in the commission of a drug offence between August 22, 2013 and September 23 2014; and two charges of supplying Schedule 1 dangerous drugs- methylamphetamine at Ripley in August 2014 and September 2014.

Crown prosecutor Jane Shaw said Phan twice provided the drug producer and trafficker Johnson with methylamphetamine, who agreed to pay Phan $50,000 for 1kg of ephedrine.

Ms Shaw said Johnson gave evidence in court that production of the drug using the ephedrine was not successful.

She said Phan received $9500 for the first supply of ice (28grams), and another $9500 for his second supply.

When first interviewed by detectives Phan denied supplying drugs, saying he'd been at Johnson's house to talk about his car business. He was then shown the secret film footage.

Ms Shaw said Johnson was sentenced to six years jail (December 2016) for his drug offending - released to parole after serving  2 ½ years.

Ms Shaw said an analysis of Phan's finances revealed "more than $300,000 of unexplained income" between February 2014 and September 23, 2014.

And the Crown  had drawn an inference from that.

Ms Shaw said while he came from a good family Phan's offending was for commercial purpose.

Mr Eberhardt said Phan had no criminal history and had come from a very impoverished background. And drug screens show he no longer uses drugs.

He said the purity of the 1kg of ephedrine powder was not known but Phan concedes it was to produce ice which usually is 70-75% purity.

Mr Eberhardt said Johnson told police he would smoke ice with Phan, and Phan began using when suffering financially.

He sought a jail sentence of no more than three years, to be suspended after serving six to nine months.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC sentenced Phan to 3 ½ years jail and ordered that he must serve 10 months. The sentence would then be suspended for four years.

Judge Lynch said serious harm is done to people and the community by such drugs.

"You supplied ephedrine to a drug dealer for the purpose of manufacturing methylamphetamine. You profited by $50,000," Judge Lynch said.

"You twice supplied (methylamphetamine) for $9500 so these are very serious offences.

"The rehabilitation process in your case is now well advanced and there is less need to focus on personal deterrence."