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Drug police 'betrayed' force
Peter Gregory, Chief Court Reporter - November 24, 2006

Stephen Cox and Glenn Sadler

Two former drug squad members committed the crime they had sworn to eliminate, a judge said in jailing them over a heroin conspiracy.

Justice Stephen Kaye said it was disappointing that two men who had lived useful and beneficial lives had stooped so low to indulge in the corrupt activity for which they had been convicted.

Former detective Glenn Sadler, 41, was sentenced to 10 years' jail, with a six-year minimum term. His co-accused, ex-sergeant Stephen Cox, 43, was jailed for seven years, with a four-year non-parole period.

Both men were found guilty in September of conspiring to traffic in a commercial quantity of heroin.

Another former drug squad detective, Ian Ferguson, is serving a 12-year sentence with an eight-year minimum, after being convicted of money laundering and taking part in the same conspiracy.

An estimated 5.5 kilograms of heroin, worth $1 million to $1.5 million, was trafficked to a Melbourne drug dealer between August 1999 and December 2002.

Today in the Supreme Court, Justice Kaye said evidence showed a "flood'' of heroin hit the streets while the drug squad members were committing offences.

"Instead of performing your duty to stem that tide, you added to it. You each blatantly betrayed your oaths of office,'' he said.

"You committed the very crime which it was your sworn responsibility to detect and eliminate.''

Justice Kaye said Cox began selling heroin to the drug dealer, a registered police informer, in August 1999. After leaving the police force in January 2000, Cox stopped trafficking, but continued to have limited involvement in the conspiracy.

Sadler continued with Ferguson in trafficking heroin, and both of them told the informer, who failed to appear in court on an aggravated burglary charge, about police efforts to find him.

Justice Kaye adjourned prosecution applications for pecuniary penalties for Cox and Sadler. He said the penalties were designed to recoup their ill-gotten gains from their criminal activities.

If the applications were resolved through settlement, Sadler might receive a penalty of more than $100,000, and Cox about $20,000, he said.

He said the most serious feature of the crimes was that the men were Victoria Police members when they committed their offences. They took advantage of their positions, breached community trust, and betrayed their police colleagues.

"(Drug trafficking) preys on the young, the weak and the vulnerable,'' he said.

"It is a twisted and contemptible enterprise, conducted by greedy, callous and ruthless individuals. It offends the fundamental norms of a decent, civilised, society.''

Transcript of R v Cox & Sadler [2006] VSC 443

theage.com.au

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