Ken Lacey will be released on parole after serving three months of his sentence. (AAP Image: Dave Hunt)
A Gold Coast judge has jailed former Victorian milk millionaire Ken Lacey for two-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to possessing and supplying cocaine.
Lacey, 61, was charged after police found him in possession of 13 bags of cocaine in 2015.
Prosecutor Judith Gearey told the District Court the drugs had a total weight of 43 grams with cocaine purity levels of 27 to 30 per cent and a street value between $12,000 and $18,000.
“This was a serious quantity … this is serious offending,” she said.
Police found the drugs when they raided Lacey’s Surfers Paradise highrise apartment in April 2015.
Lacey pleaded guilty to five charges including drug supply, drug possession and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Jade Lacey (left) and Dionne Lacey were jailed in 2009 over the killing of Kevin Palmer. (Queensland Police: AAP Image)
During sentencing in the District Court at Southport, the judge was told Lacey had given up drugs after returning from a holiday in Thailand and was in the process of giving his stash away when he was arrested.
Lacey wrote a letter to the judge, saying: “If I had my time over again I would have thrown it out with the rubbish.”
Judge David Kent took into account Lacey’s good work history and that he was still recovering from recent shoulder surgery and ordered he be released on parole after serving three months of his two-and-a-half-year sentence.
The court heard Lacey turned to drugs after two of his sons, Jade and Dionne, were jailed over a fatal shooting in 2007 and drug trafficking offences.
Dionne Lacey was convicted of manslaughter and declared a serious violent offender in 2009 over the shooting of 23-year-old Kevin Palmer in 2007, while his other son Jade was convicted of unlawful wounding.
Lacey made his money distributing milk in Victoria.
By the age of 40, he was the biggest private distributor in Australia and operated 50 milk runs.
His barrister Sarah Thompson told the court Lacey had been “a successful and affluent businessman”.
In 1992, Lacey moved to the Gold Coast and bought a beachfront house on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach.
Lacey caught in CCC rugby league probe
The heavily tattooed 61-year-old was swept up in the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation into drug trafficker John Touma, whose activities also sparked the Gold Coast Titans NRL cocaine scandal in 2015.
More than half a dozen past and present league players were charged, including former Broncos, Titans and Rabbitohs forward Dave Taylor, who pleaded guilty in November 2016 to possessing cocaine and was fined $1,000.
Queensland Reds contracted player Karmichael Hunt, who also played for the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Suns AFL side, was also caught up in the CCC operation.
Touma pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in February and was sentenced to nine years’ jail by a Brisbane judge.
Karmichael Hunt was fined $600 in February over drug-related charges resulting from the CCC investigation. (AAP: Jono Searle)
Jade and Dionne Lacey were also involved in drug trafficking and were convicted of torturing a drug dealer, whom they forced to dig his own grave on South Stradbroke Island before he was shot through the hand by eldest son Jade.
Before the shooting, Jade Lacey was an aspiring rapper who performed under the stage name Lace Italiano.
“My client was devastated by his sons’ offending,” Ms Thompson told the District Court.
“There were times when there were fights between my client and his sons.”
Millions spent on sons’ court defence
Ms Thompson said the drawn-out court process took its toll on Lacey, who spent $6.1 million on his sons’ defence cases.
Ken Lacey leaving Brisbane District Court during his sons’ trial in 2010. (AAP Image: Dave Hunt)
“It financially ruined him,” she said.
Lacey turned to drugs at the age of 45 and regularly took cocaine and drank heavily.
“He was effectively self medicating,” Ms Thompson said.
Since he was charged, the court heard the former multi-millionaire had cleaned up his life and no longer took drugs.
He was also seeking help from a psychologist.
In passing sentence, Judge Kent said he also took into account the trauma imposed on Lacey by his sons’ actions.
“He had enormous damage inflicted on him by the misbehaviour of his sons,” he said.
Ken Lacey is due for release on August 10.