An interior designer who moonlighted as a drug dealer would hold onto the IDs of his clients until they paid their debts, a court has been told.
Texts from Fabio Ragona’s phone revealed he had set up an “enforcement” system to ensure he received the hundreds of dollars he was owed for selling the drugs.
While he avoided jail at Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Brisbane-based designer now faces deportation.
Ragona, 37, pleaded guilty to seven drug-related charges that included supplying and possessing dangerous drugs, possessing drug utensils and possessing a relevant substance.
The court was told police discovered his drug stash after they executed a search warrant on his unit on December 18 last year.
About 12.5g of pure-weight methylamphetamine, 26g of cannabis, 6g of liquid Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), a wad of $545 in cash and a number of clip seal bags, pipes and scales were seized.
Ragona returned to home to find police searching his unit.
Crown prosecutor Ben Jackson said Ragona’s phone was seized and he provided he passcode.
Text messages exchanged with a man known as ‘Tony’ revealed he had supplied small amounts of methylamphetamine on December 13 and 15.
Mr Jackson said Tony owed up to $300 for the supply but a concerning feature involved Ragona holding onto the client’s ID until he paid up.
He said Ragona’s business was “embryonic trafficking”.
“Mr Ragona seemed to have a kind of system for enforcing payment of the debt,” Mr Jackson said.
“The fact he supplied the methylamphetamine two days apart and had a system in place to keep the person’s ID until he was paid … shows a reasonable level of a business activity.”
Justice Peter Flanagan sentenced Ragona to two years’ jail but granted him immediate parole.
He noted Ragona, a Swiss citizen who moved to Australia in 2014, would be in a show-cause position regarding his deportation.
Ragona’s defence lawyer Penny White submitted her client had taken significant steps in his rehabilitation and was addicted to methylamphetamine at the time of his offending.
“He’s been attending his GP and seeing a doctor on a weekly basis,” Ms White said.
Ms White Ragona had a good work history since moving to Australia, having started his own interior design business after his previous employment at the Brisbane International Airport was disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.