Trent James jailed for 360kg importation of methamphetamine from Malaysia to Australia

Middle child who ‘always felt left out’ is jailed for 13 YEARS after attempting smuggle 360kg of crystal meth into Australia

  • Trent James, 38, was jailed more than 13 years for drug crimes on Thursday
  • The County Court heard James had a bad childhood where he often felt ‘left out’
  • He ran a stone import business and used his warehouse to store boxes of drugs
  • Federal Police found 360kg of methamphetamine imported from Malaysia

A middle child who always felt left out, Trent James turned to drugs at 13 and is now behind bars after being caught with 144kg of what he thought was methamphetamine.

Police had already intercepted the original 360kg import from Malaysia and switched the illicit crystal for salt when he picked up part of the shipment in June 2020.

James, now 38, ran a stone import business and used his company’s warehouse to store nine boxes of drugs that he had picked up.

He was jailed for 13 years and nine months on Thursday by County Court Judge Michael Cahill after he pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled substance.

The shipment of drugs, amongst household furniture, arrived in Australia on June 4, 2020, and was intercepted by federal police four days later.

Police found Trent James, 38, was storing drugs in his company warehouse after feeling ‘left out’ throughout his drug-riddled childhoods (example image of drugs in a warehouse)

There were 18 boxes in the shipment, with each box containing 20kg of crystal methamphetamine in 1kg bags. The drugs had a purity of more than 80 per cent.

Boxes were taken to various depots by logistics companies and on June 14 James picked up a delivery of nine boxes which he believed contained 144.45kg of pure methamphetamine.

At his Cheltenham factory he unloaded the boxes and left.

Australian Federal Police covertly installed surveillance devices in the factory overnight and captured James’ return the following day.

He opened one of the boxes and emptied each of the 20 bags into a white tub.

But when he smelled the substance it had no smell, unlike crystal methamphetamine which has a distinctive vinegar-like odour.

James set fire to the boxes and packaging, and emptied the contents of the tub into a toilet before leaving, Judge Cahill said.

Police swapped the 360km of methamphetamine (stock image) for salt and caught James moving the fake illegal substance

Police swapped the 360km of methamphetamine (stock image) for salt and caught James moving the fake illegal substance

The remaining boxes were later collected on the orders of a Malaysian national because they were ‘not up to customer satisfaction’, the court heard.

James was the middle child of three boys and had a strained relationship with his parents and didn’t get on with his brothers growing up.

The court heard he always felt left out. James started using drugs at 13, was expelled from school at 16 and later started up his own combat sports event business, which has helped Australian athletes compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

He has already spent more than two years in custody since his arrest in June 2020 and has been abstinent from drugs, Judge Cahill said.

References described him as a rock, generous in his assistance of others and always willing to help.

Judge Cahill ordered he serve eight years and nine months before becoming eligible for parole, noting the longer period of supervised freedom would promote continued rehabilitation.