Ex-Bachie star busted with 150kg of cannabis
A former Bachelorette “star” has avoided prison after he was caught driving a van carrying almost 150kg of cannabis to Queensland.
Samuel Colin Minkin fronted Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Monday after pleading guilty to one charge of possessing a prohibited drug and taking part in supplying a prohibited drug, namely cannabis, larger than a commercial quantity.
Judge Warwick Hunt told the court Minkin, 30, was found with an encrypted device which had the platform An0m, which criminals used to communicate.
The court was told Minkin was provided with the An0m device on May 26, 2021, which he used to communicate with another man, who asked him to pick him up from a property in Sunshine, Victoria by 8am the following day.
On the drive back, the van broke down on the Hume Highway and Minkin was told to get it towed to an address in Minto, in Sydney’s southwest.
Judge Hunt told the court a “substitute van” was organised and Minkin met with the man on May 28, where they began driving to Queensland.
NSW Police noticed the van about 5am entering the M1 Motorway travelling in a northerly direction and quickly pulled it over at Crabbes Creek.
Police found nine neatly wrapped boxes in the back.
When asked about the boxes, the court heard Minkin said they were “extra household stuff he picked up from Bondi”, saying it was “basically rubbish”.
He gave police the excuse he had moved to Queensland and needed to sort out the final things left at his Bondi house and sort out the bond.
“(Police) formed reasonable suspicions the vehicle may have contained drugs,” Judge Hunt told the court.
Both Minkin and the man driving the van said they didn’t know what was contained in the nine boxes, which the judge described as being “packed neatly”.
It was revealed the boxes contained 322 vacuum sealed bags of cannabis leaf, with a total combined weight of 144.247kg.
Police also found .035g of ketamine in a bag belonging to Minkin.
He was arrested and relied on his right to silence until he could speak to a lawyer.
Minkin later conceded he did not know the amount of drugs exceeded 100kg, but that he did know they weighed more than 25kg.
“The agreed facts indicate this was the first time Mr Minkin had experience in couriering drugs on behalf of the syndicate,” Judge Hunt said.
The judge said there was a level of sophistication in the offence through the use of the encrypted devices.
He said Minkin’s role could be characterised as an “important role, but a role that could be replaced”.
“He is not indispensable in terms of his personal characteristics; he had the role of being a courier driver and there’s nothing to indicate he had any pre-existing involvement in the syndicate,” Judge Hunt said.
“(He had) a lack of naivety or lack of sophistication.”
Judge Hunt said Minkin is a contributing member of the community, who had glowing references from patients who he treats as a musculoskeletal therapist.
He told the court Minkin has “limited social and media notoriety” after he appeared in season six of the Bachelorette Australia, before being booted off the show early on.
“I am persuaded to have one’s reputation perhaps irretrievably linked to criminal misdeeds does more of the work of specific deterrence,” the judge said.
Judge Hunt convicted Minkin on both counts and sentenced him to a two-year Intensive Corrections Order, which is essentially a prison sentence to be served in the community.
He ordered him to be of good behaviour, with Minkin having to undertake 400 hours of community service.