Orange drug dealer Lyndon Southwell caught by text messages

A street-level drug dealer who was caught in a police sting could have made a $58,000 profit in four months from the sale of cannabis in Orange according to investigating officers.

On Monday, Lyndon Southwell, 34, of Sir Neville Howse Place, appeared before magistrate David Day in Orange Local Court via audio visual link from custody for sentencing.

For supplying a commercial quantity of cannabis, Southwell was given a 12-month jail sentence with a six-month non-parole period from March 22, 2018, to September 21, 2018.

Mr Day also placed Southwell on a three-year good behaviour bond for possession of 110 grams of cannabis, which was found in Southwell’s house when he was arrested on March 22.

Police conducting Strike Force Foment were targeting Daniel Gil, 38, of Parkes, who was suspected of running drugs from the Illawarra to the Central West when they intercepted text messages between Gil and Southwell organising the exchange of cannabis and money between September 1, 2017, and February 9, 2018.

From the text messages, investigators recorded 22 occasions when Southwell exchanged money for cannabis and from 14 of those occasions 4.082 kilograms of the drug was exchanged to be sold by Southwell in Orange.

In another eight drug exchanges, police could not establish the weight of the drug but according to their average calculations the total was estimated to be 6.41 kilograms.

According to police facts, the investigators estimated that Southwell would have paid no more than $42,000 for the cannabis based on a calculation of $3000 per 453 grams.

Police were also granted a warrant to monitor messages on Southwell’s mobile from January 18, 2018, to February, 17, 2018, and recovered evidence that he was on-selling the cannabis in Orange for $20 per gram or three grams for $50 to a client base of 10 to 20 people. 

Based on a conservative calculation of 2000 three-gram exchanges, police said Southwell could have received $100,000 for the cannabis and minus $42,000 purchase could have made a $58,000 profit.

However, the police said Southwell had a “healthy” cannabis habit, which would have reduced his profit margin.

His solicitor Andrew Rolfe said Southwell had two relatively minor matters in his criminal history and was on a disability support pension when he was caught.

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