‘Like putting a revolver to your head’: Drug trafficker Mikaela Anne Engeler gets reality check at sentencing | The Canberra Times

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A dealer caught with drugs hidden in her bra after a police chase quickly found herself back in strife whilst on bail, this time trying to throw another stash to friends in front of officers. Mikaela Anne Engeler, 28, walked free from the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday after being given the opportunity to serve the rest of her jail term in the community. But she also received a reality check from Magistrate Bernadette Boss about the potentially lethal effects of illicit substances. Court documents show Engeler was a passenger in a Holden Commodore pursued by police through three Belconnen suburbs on Boxing Day last year. The car eventually stopped in Scullin and the driver ran. Engeler and another passenger also got out and were stopped nearby as they tried to walk away. Engeler insisted she did not have any drugs on her, but the driver, who was also apprehended, told police: “Mikaela’s got gear on her. She was going to pay me in meth for driving her around.” The 28-year-old was subsequently found to be hiding four bags of methylamphetamine and one of heroin in her bra. They were seized along with other items located in her handbag, including a glass “ice” pipe, a set of digital scales and $750 in cash. When asked why she had been dishonest, Engeler told police: “Well, as if I would tell you. I had a chance to get away with it.” Then, whilst she was on bail in March this year, police in Florey spotted Engeler heading towards “a location that is well-known as being actively involved in the distribution of controlled drugs”. When officers told her they intended to conduct a search, the 28-year-old yelled out to “friends” in the house and repeatedly tried to swing her handbag off her arm and towards the house. She eventually admitted she was carrying methylamphetamine and heroin. The quantities of methylamphetamine Engeler was caught with on both occasions exceeded the trafficable quantity, while both lots of heroin were small enough to be considered personal amounts. Engeler ultimately pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and possessing drugs for sale or supply, as well as two counts of prohibited drug possession. She also admitted two charges of possessing stolen property, after police found her carrying a driver’s licence and proof of age card that were not hers when she was last arrested. In sentencing on Friday, Dr Boss said Engeler appeared to have been “on a path to misery”, selling illicit drugs to fund her own use. The magistrate said methylamphetamine was a drug that had “a horrendous effect on people’s health and well-being”, and which could kill people. She pointed out that Engeler, selling the substance, did not necessarily know how it had been manufactured and what was in it. “These drugs are not playthings,” Dr Boss told Engeler. “They’re a little bit like putting a revolver to your head, pulling the trigger and hoping the chamber doesn’t have a bullet in it.” Dr Boss sentenced Engeler to more than four months of full-time imprisonment, which the 28-year-old had already served in custody on remand. The magistrate also imposed a six-month intensive correction order, which is a jail sentence served in the community, and ordered that it start immediately. One of the conditions of the order involves Engeler attending a drug rehabilitation program.



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Trafficker blames drug use on bashing at the hands of notorious criminal Rodney Clavell

A convicted South Australian drug trafficker has told a court that his spiralling drug use was linked to being bashed by notorious criminal Rodney Clavell on the same day as a tense 12-hour stand-off with police.

Leon Derek Hogg, 45, took to the witness box in the District Court today to tell Judge Rauf Soulio that he was bashed with a hammer by Rodney Clavell in June 2014.

The court was told that following the assault, an armed Clavell took hostages at an Adelaide City brothel, sparking a 12-hour siege which ended when the 46-year-old took his own life.

“He had never met him in his life and got bashed with a hammer,” Adam Richards, for Hogg, told the court.

Mr Richards asked Hogg if his spiralling drug use was linked to the Clavell bashing.

Rodney Clavell was involved in a 12-hour siege in 2014.(Facebook)

He replied: “Yes, I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression.”

But the prosecutor asked Hogg if he was convicted for drug trafficking in 2011, before the Clavell bashing.

He said that was correct and he had not made a report to police about the assault.

Hogg — a former champion pool player — is awaiting sentencing in the District Court for trafficking drugs along with Kylie Anne Hie and Constantine Parpoulos.

The trio pleaded guilty to trafficking about 70 grams of crystal methamphetamine between March and August in 2016.

Prosecutors told the court the accused were “above street dealer” level in the overall enterprise and drugs were on-sold in Adelaide and Mount Gambier.

Hie previously jailed over drug-driving crash that killed daughter

In November 2013, Hie was high on methamphetamine when she crashed her car on the South Eastern Freeway at Leawood Gardens, killing her four-year-old daughter Charlotte.

She was on bail for that crash when she was arrested for the drug trafficking.

A woman with brown hair wearing sunglasses and a white jacket
Kylie Anne Hie crashed and killed her four-year-old daughter in 2013.(ABC News: Meagan Dillon)

In 2017, the 37-year-old was sentenced to three years’ jail with a non-parole period of two years and three months for the crash that killed her daughter.

She was released from jail in December last year.

Andrew Culshaw, for Hie, told the court that his client was grief-stricken after her daughter’s death, and turned to methamphetamine to cope with the loss.

He said that after the death of her daughter, drugs “really took over her life”.

“It might be easy from the outside looking in that the accident ought to have stopped Ms Hie from using drugs,” he said.

Mr Culshaw told the court the “forced abstinence” from drugs while in jail had given her insight into her crimes and she was taking “positive steps towards rehabilitation”.

“Ms Hie describes her time in prison as the best thing that has happened to her,” he said.

He said she had volunteered to speak to school children about road trauma as part of a program run by the Metropolitan Fire Service.

Judge Soulio will sentence the trio separately in July and August.

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Cocaine trafficker Cassie Sainsbury released from Colombian prison


April 17, 2020 11:23:21

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Cassie Sainsbury has been released from a Colombian prison less than three years into her six-year sentence, her lawyer has confirmed.

Key points:

  • Cassie Sainsbury was jailed in November 2017 in Colombia for cocaine trafficking
  • The Adelaide woman was aged 22 when she was arrested at Bogota’s El Dorado airport
  • She has told Channel Nine that the experience has been “a massive learning curve”

Ms Sainsbury, a former personal trainer from Adelaide, was jailed in November 2017 after being arrested at Bogota’s El Dorado international airport in April that year with 18 packages of cocaine stashed in her luggage.

Sainsbury’s Colombian lawyer Orlando Herran has confirmed to the ABC his client has been released from prison in Bogota.

In an excerpt of an interview with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program posted on social media, Sainsbury said she had “grown up” during her time in jail.

“I can say that I grew as a person — I’ve grown up a lot,” she said.

“I learnt a lot about myself, I learnt a lot about people … I’ve learnt how to analyse people better.

“I’ve learnt not to trust people so much, it’s been definitely a massive learning curve.

“But at the same time, everything I’ve been through in prison, everything I’ve learnt, I wouldn’t change it — because it’s made me a stronger person, it’s made me who I am today.”

Sainsbury was 22 at the time of her arrest and was stopped while trying to smuggle 5.8 kilograms of cocaine inside 18 separate packages of headphones.

She was initially facing up to 21 years in prison, but had her sentenced reduced to six years after a judge accepted a plea deal.

Coronavirus may have led to early release, lawyer says

Sainsbury spent the sentence inside Colombia’s El Buen Pastor prison, which is known for its harsh conditions.

Her former lawyer in Australia, Stephen Kenny, said she may have been released early because of coronavirus concerns in the Colombian prison system.

“Being in prison anywhere in the world at the moment would be very difficult particularly with the virus and the fact that prisons are very much like a cruise ship in the sense that everyone is locked on them,” he said.

“If a virus got in there it could be quite deadly.

“About 4,000 prisoners were due for release but it’s not clear at this stage whether Cassandra is one of those who is being released in the general humanitarian release or whether she has actually come up for parole and she’s been released on parole.”

Mr Kenny said if that were the case, Sainsbury would serve her parole in Colombia.

At the time of her imprisonment, her Colombian lawyer said she may end up serving less time — about three years — with good conduct.

Her case drew mass attention in Australia and shone a light on foreign drug mules in Colombia, the world’s largest cocaine producer.

At the time, Colombia’s National Penitentiary Prison Institute estimated about 880 foreigners were detained in different prisons across the country, with most serving time for narcotics trafficking.

In an interview with 60 Minutes in September 2017, Sainsbury said she thought she had accepted a job as a legitimate courier transporting documents for $10,000 plus flights.

“I had outstanding bills, I suppose I took the risk,” she said.

But at the last minute, she said the plans were changed and she was sent to Colombia where a “mastermind” known only as Angelo threatened to kill her mother, sister and fiance if she did not transport Angelo’s drugs.

Mr Kenny, who represented Sainsbury’s ex-fiance Scott Broadbridge, told the ABC in 2017 that “she could have been facing 20 years” in jail.









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