Wangaratta’s Jessica Fogarty is an ice queen alright, but not the kind that you’d expect to find in a children’s movie.
After running one of Victoria’s most successful ice, cocaine and prescription drug syndicates for years, Fogarty plead guilty to six drug-related charges at the Wangaratta County Court on Tuesday, with Judge Frank Gucciardo sentencing the 26-year-old to seven years in prison with a mandatory sentencing period of four-and-a-half years.
The syndicate, Gucciardo said, had been worth “millions of dollars” while in operation.
Fogarty, who allegedly turned to dealing after becoming a drug addict to cope with a former abusive partner and back injury, operated the regional syndicate by buying large quantities from Melbourne and Sydney connections that were then sold onto smaller-scale dealers and distributed throughout the area.
The court heard that Fogarty showed rewarding behaviour to reliable dealers by offering discounted prices, but threatening and intimidating behaviour to those who were not. Fogarty, who Judge Gucciardo said had a “fascination” with guns, would allow those indebted to her to clear the slate with firearms, which were often stolen from properties within the area.
Despite her attempts to avoid detection – which included laundering cash through TAB betting accounts, operating under aliases such as “Princess Devil Woman” on encrypted phone apps and installing infra-red cameras outside her home – local police identified Fogarty as a target as far back as September 2012.
Launching Operation Juliet, an investigation into the operation of her syndicate, Fogarty, key collaborator and father of Fogarty’s child, Matthew Tymms and over 60 others were arrested.
The court heard Fogarty continued to use ice after becoming a mother, and was texting Tymms orders to collect drug deal debts while still in the maternity ward at hospital.
Estimating that she owed somewhere between $5 and $10 million in drug debts, Fogarty expressed “deep regret” and remorse in court, but Judge Gucciardo said Fogarty had been driven by not just her addiction, but also greed, and that she had contributed to the “exploitation of those with a drug dependency and all its misery.”
Tymms, and Fogarty’s suspected Melbourne-based suppliers, Minh Lam and Ozkan Ciftci, are yet to receive sentencing.
Feature image via Facebook.