Albanian immigrants caught with $437,000 of cannabis in the back of their van won’t serve a day in jail
Two Melbourne men have escaped jail time after their slow-moving truck caught the attention of police, who found 200kg of fresh cannabis in the back.
Endri Mancka, 30, of Epping, and Spartak Krisniqi, 31, of Pascoe Vale, received two-year community corrections orders with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Mancka was driving and Krisniqi was his passenger when patrolling police intercepted their truck on Melbourne’s outskirts, shortly after midnight in July, 2018.
Two Melbourne men have escaped jail time after their slow-moving truck caught the attention of police, who found 200kg of fresh cannabis in the back (file picture)
After immediately smelled cannabis, the officers asked to see the rear of the truck and uncovered the large stash, valued at up to $437,000.
Mancka agreed he had hired the vehicle, but said Krisniqi was not involved in any of it.
Krisniqi told police Mancka called him wanting help with a task and he ‘could do it at night’.
Krisniqi said he believed the crops would be small ones and they had been ‘looking for somewhere to dump it’.
He said he and Mancka would receive $2000 apiece for the task.
County Court Judge Mandy Fox said the quantity of drugs involved was a ‘serious’ feature of the offending.
She doubted the cannabis was to be dumped and was not persuaded the crop was for a purpose unrelated to trafficking.
‘There’s something inherently unlikely about being paid $2000 to help dispose of a valuable crop of fresh cannabis,’ she said on Wednesday.
Judge Fox said the Albanian-born men had good work histories and were ashamed at their behaviour.
They were convicted by a jury last month of possessing a drug of dependence, but cleared of the more serious offence of trafficking in a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence.
‘The message must be sent that if you’re in possession of a substantial quantity of an illegal drug, even if you’re not trafficking, you should expect stern punishment,’ the judge said.