A drug courier’s arrest with more than 260kg of “ice” inside the van he had just crashed into two marked police cars was “most unfortunate” for him but of “great benefit” to the community, a court has heard.
The farcical circumstances of Simon Tu’s arrest in Sydney’s northwest last July made headlines across the country and has cost him at least four years in prison.
It was about 10.36am when the 28-year-old slammed the white Toyota HiAce van he was driving into two police vehicles parked out the front of Eastwood police station, causing “extensive damage”.
He did not stop to assess the scene and drove off, with witnesses giving police a description of the van.
At about 11.35am police pulled over Tu in the damaged vehicle they spotted on CCTV and dashcam footage on Blaxland Rd, Ryde, and quickly became suspicious of his fidgeting and attempts to avoid eye contact.
The cafe manager told police he was delivering food he had picked up from Pizza Hut in Eastwood, but when they looked in the back cops found 13 sealed cardboard boxes later confirmed to be full of “ice”.
When asked at the scene how much the drugs were worth Tu replied: “A lot.”
An expert police witness estimated during court proceedings the wholesale value of 260kg of “ice” in 2019 was more than $23 million and could fetch up to $130,235,000 on the street.
On Friday Judge Penny Hock sentenced Tu to six years and six months in jail after convicting him of supplying more than the large commercial quantity of drugs.
Judge Hock said his arrest was “most unfortunate for the offender but was of great benefit to the community as an enormous quantity of s prohibited drugs was not able to be distributed”.
“It was the offender’s own incompetent or shambolic, on his barrister’s own submission, driving that brought him to the attention of police,” she said.
Downing Centre District Court heard the Berala man had owed significant amounts of money in personal debts and repayments for his mortgage, car and credit cards.
He was using cocaine and drinking daily at the time, behaviour that he now accepts was “out of control”.
Judge Hock accepted Tu did not know exactly how much drugs he was carrying, or how much the bounty was worth, but she said he must have been aware it was a substantial amount.
“His role was limited to one day and possibly could be measured in terms of an hour or two … However, couriers play an essential part in the drug trade,” she said.
“He put his own interests … before the welfare of the community.”
The court heard Tu had experienced traumatic events while behind bars in the year since his arrest and had described his time in jail as a wake-up call.
He received a four-year non-parole period, backdated to the day of his arrest on July 22, 2019, meaning he will be eligible for release in July 2023.