Prohibited Drug Quantities and Penalties in NSW

Poppy Morandin.


A 42-year-old man has been charged after officers from the Organised Crime Squad allegedly seized 4kg of cocaine stamped with an Australian Federal Police (AFP) logo.

Following investigations into the activities of an alleged criminal syndicate involved in the supply of cocaine across Sydney, police stopped a tow truck carrying a Nissan X-trail on Pennant Hills Road, Oatlands.

The vehicle was searched, revealing the 4kg of cocaine stamped with the AFP logo.

Subsequently, a 42-year-old Northmead man was arrested in a carpark on Windsor Road, Northmead, and taken to Granville Police Station.

Following this, four search warrants were executed at homes in Zetland, Thornleigh, Holroyd, and Northmead.

During the search of the Northmead home, detectives seized a hydraulic press and a metal stamp of the AFP logo.

Police will allege that the stamp was used to brand the seized blocks of cocaine, along with a further 1.5kg of cocaine found at the property.

In total, police will allege the cocaine has an estimated potential street value of $2.2 million.

At the other locations, police also seized $43,735 in cash, cocaine, electronic devices, documentation, vehicle number plates, ammunition, and various items alleged to be consistent with illicit drug supply.

All items seized will undergo further forensic examination.

The Northmead man was charged with four counts of supply prohibited drug, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and possess ammunition without holding licence or permit or authority.

The AFP have since posted: “at the risk of stating the obvious, AFP-branded cocaine isn’t endorsed by us.”

Prohibited Drug Quantities and Penalties in NSW

A person who supplies, or who knowingly takes part in the supply of, a prohibited drug is guilty of an offence, pursuant to section 25(1) of the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) (the Act).

‘Supply’ is provided with a considerably extended definition under the Act.

It includes selling and distributing, as well as agreeing to supply, offering to supply, keeping, or having in possession for supply, sending, forwarding, delivering, or receiving for supply, or authorising, directing, causing, suffering, permitting or attempting any of the aforementioned acts.

This is outlined in section 3(1) of the Act.

Maximum penalties and offences under the Act are distinguished based on the weight of the prohibited drug involved.

The thresholds range from small, traffickable, indictable, commercial, and large commercial quantities.

A table corresponding threshold quantities to a relevant prohibited drug are found within Schedule 1 of the Act.

Section 25(1) will usually apply to offences in which the prohibited drug involved is less than the commercial quantity and ranges between the small and indictable quantities.

These matters will be dealt with in the Local Court unless the prosecution or defence ‘elects’ otherwise.

If dealt with in the Local Court, the maximum penalty is a fine of $5,500 and/or imprisonment for 2 years.

However, if the matter is ‘elected’ and is dealt with in the District Court, a maximum penalty of a $220,000 fine and/or 15 years imprisonment, is applicable.

Despite this, in the case of cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, a fine of $220,000 and/or imprisonment for 10 years is applicable.

Section 25(2) applies to those who supply quantities which are not less than a ‘commercial’ quantity.

This offence is strictly indictable, which means that it cannot be dealt with in the Local Court and therefore will be heard before the District Court.

A maximum penalty of a fine of $385,000 and/or 20 years imprisonment is applicable.

In the case of cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, the maximum jail term reduces to 15 years.

If the quantity involved is not less than the large commercial quantity, the maximum penalty raises to a $550,000 fine and/or life imprisonment.

In the case of cannabis plant or cannabis leaf, the maximum jail term reduces to 20 years.

In sentencing drug supply matters, it has been outlined that the court will have specific regard to the need for protection of the community.

This is in recognition of the social impact of drug use, particularly as an underlying cause of other criminal offending.

Furthermore, the court has held that as deterring the general community from such conduct is important, a consistent message of deterrence is necessary.

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