ACT News

Jail for Canberra man who trafficked cocaine, set up cannabis grow houses

Abdul Karim Nikro ran his drug business like any other enterprise.

He would buy cocaine and sell it at a profit, and use his expertise to set up grow houses in return for a percentage of the profit.

But the offences have left the 29-year-old drug addicted and behind bars.

Police raids on his car and associated properties in April last year found about $230,000 in cash and 450 grams of cocaine.

The ACT Supreme Court heard Nikro, 29, also had stakes in two northside grow houses.

But Nikro also owed $80,000 in drug debts and the stress of his businesses, both legitimate and illicit, and other personal issues also drove Nikro to drug abuse, using about $1500 worth of cocaine a day before his arrest last year.

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Police swooped on Nikro on May 23 after a number of large cocaine deals with an undercover police officer.

He appeared for sentence in the ACT Supreme Court on charges of cocaine trafficking and cultivating cannabis.

The court heard Nikro sold undercover police more than $120,000 worth of cocaine in three deals in Crace between March and May last year.

Raids on Nikro's car and properties in Civic, Crace and Lyneham located about $230,000 in cash, 450 grams of cocaine, scales and 150 grams of cutting agent.

At the time, Nikro had been on bail over two northside grow houses where more than 200 cannabis plants were seized.

DNA and police surveillance linked Nikro to the properties in O'Connor and Macgregor.

Police surveillance of the O'Connor grow house caught Nikro visiting the property six times over a two-month period.

In March 2011, police raided the uninhabited property and found three rooms, a granny flat and a shed had been fitted out to grow the illicit plants.

Each room had plastic sheeting on the floor, and chemicals and an illegally diverted power supply were also discovered.

Nikro's DNA was found in plastic gloves recovered from a bin and his palm print discovered inside the house.

In July, police spotted him at the Macgregor grow house and a raid a month later uncovered a hidden door leading to a secret underground basement that housed a sophisticated hydroponic irrigation system.

The two-room basement included cannabis plants, fertiliser, green vegetable matter, water tanks, heat lamps, fans and a thermometer.

Forensic tests on DNA from a cigarette butt found in the garage matched Nikro.

Justice John Burns on Monday sentenced Nikro to four years and nine months jail, backdated to take into account time spent in custody. Nikro will be eligible for parole in November next year.

"I am satisfied that [you] were a significant participant in those cultivations," Justice Burns said.

"You were not simply a labourer working for a fixed sum or at an hourly rate.

"These were sophisticated and costly ventures. It is quite clear that you and your co-offenders anticipated that the profits would be large."

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