Perth-based former Inpex worker Carmelo Paparone jailed over February 2019 airport drug bust
Perth-based former Inpex worker Carmelo Paparone jailed over February 2019 airport drug bust

How to go from a ‘white picket fence’ to a bashing in jail

A FORMER Inpex worker who was arrested at Darwin airport with more than $40,000 worth of methamphetamine inside his toiletries bag says his supervisor used to pass an ice pipe around at smoko.

Carmello Paparone, 49, was on Wednesday sentenced to three years and nine months jail with a two year and eight month non-parole period after NT Police in February caught him with 68g of the drug as he flew through the airport.

When taken into a side room at the airport, Paparone told police: "there's gear in my bag".

He then told police he was "just a courier".

Crown Prosecutor Long Nam Ha said he accepted Paparone was only a courier.

"He's obviously not at the top of the chain, nonetheless it is serious offending and in the Crown submission is not a spur of the moment type thing," Mr Ha said.

"It is not just a couple of clip seal bags at a music festival."

 

Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth.
Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth. Contributed

Paparone's lawyer Shane McMaster said his client had served jail time before and was doing it tough at Holtze Prison.

"Mr Paparone was seriously assaulted in prison and had his jaw broken in three places," Mr McMaster said.

Mr McMaster said Paparone picked up FIFO work soon after he was released from jail in 2012, got married, had a "beautiful home" and was "living the white picket fence dream, as it were", but started using the drug again when cracks started to show in the relationship.

"He gets back, he needs some time on his own, there's some friction, there's tension, there's issues … he starts using methamphetamine," Mr McMaster said.

Mr McMaster said Paparone's drug use became worse when his wife left him.

"From then, really all bets are off."

He said when Paparone's job at Inpex did not help him with his drug habit.

"On his very first shift, at lunch the supervisor of that particular shift produced a pipe and shared it around with the crew," he said.

He said Paparone could beat drug tests by getting clean urine samples from co-workers or by taking the day off when told there would be drug testing.

Chief Justice Michael Grant said the drug trade would collapse without couriers such as Paparone.

He said offenders with records such as Paparone's might "simply not (be) capable of long term reform".

He said meth could have a "grotesque" impact on users, which Paparone should know "as much or better than anybody".



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