A judge has urged a Canberra prisoner not to let history repeat itself after he was done for directing an international drug syndicate while he was behind bars.
The ACT Supreme Court on Monday heard Emin Oguz Yavuz was already serving a sentence for drug importation charges when he helped get 1.7 kilograms of MDMA onto Australian shores.
His sentence for the initial drugs charges will expire in February next year, but now he'll stay locked up for importing the MDMA until at least September 2023, when he'll be eligible for parole.
Justice Chrissa Loukas-Karlsson sentenced him to a total jail term of eight years and six months for the fresh offending.
She said the MDMA, which was intercepted by border force officers at Sydney customs in November 2017, was bound for the Australian National University and falsely labelled "camping pans".
She said Bilal Badr-Eddeen Omari, who also had a role in the MDMA syndicate, worked at the university at the time. He will be sentenced in November over the party drugs, as well as for trafficking cocaine.
Yavuz was initially charged over a second MDMA consignment - also bound for the university and labelled "paint" - but that charge was dropped.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson said she would still take that consignment into account on sentencing.
She said Yavuz, in directing the drug ring from jail, worked with "popular" cafe owner Peter Poulakis, Canberra builder Youssef Jabal, and Omari. She said Yavuz didn't know how much MDMA was going to be imported, but he knew it was at least a commercial quantity.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson said Poulakis converted Jabal's money into Bitcoin to pay for the MDMA. The cafe owner was sentenced to six years' jail for his role in the drug syndicate last Friday, while Jabal is not charged with any offences relating to the MDMA importation.
He was sentenced in August for being knowingly concerned with Omari's cocaine trafficking operation.
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Justice Loukas-Karlsson said although it appeared Yavuz had started to follow a "new path" in life, there was no question she had to sentence him to a significant amount of full-time imprisonment.
She said Yavuz had struggled with the death of his brother, who died in an accident in Iraq, and said the prisoner got involved in the MDMA drug ring to pay off significant drug and gambling debts.
References the judge read aloud in court described Yavuz as a leader of the Alexander Maconochie Centre's Muslim community, a "law-abiding citizen" and a man of "impeccable" character.
Justice Loukas-Karlsson told Yavuz, "Don't destroy that glimmer of hope" for successful rehabilitation, and, "You cannot afford to have history repeat itself".
"You've got a lot of proving to do [for] yourself and everyone around you before parole can occur [in September 2023]," she said.
In a letter Yavuz wrote to the court, he said he accepted he had made "extremely poor choices in life", but was hopeful of one day becoming an interpreter or a translator.