An international drug importer who hired couriers on Air Tasker to transport his product started a mental health charity with his family while behind bars.
Hayden Cox was first locked up aged 32 after police caught him trying to import MDMA and ketamine.
More than 16kg of the two drugs passed through the electrician’s failed drug operation in early 2020, arriving by post from Europe.
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Cox pleaded guilty to attempted possession of 5.6 kg of MDMA, importation of 9.9 kg of ketamine, and possession of a commercial quantity – more than 1 kg – of ketamine.
He used IDs belonging to others to register phone numbers and create email addresses before renting PO boxes.
Couriers he met on Air Tasker were then unknowingly recruited to transport the drugs.
The MDMA arrived in Australia concealed in two concrete angel statues, which were swapped by the police. Cox had the Angels with him in a backpack when he was arrested.
The ketamine arrived in Australia disguised as three separate deliveries – jars labeled bodybuilding supplements and in boxes labeled anti-corrosion grease were found in his car and a delivery of ketamine in air filters arrived the day after his arrest .
Cox faced a pre-sentence hearing in Victoria County Court on Wednesday alongside Natasha Dokmanovic, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of attempted possession of a border controlled drug.
Both had repeatedly claimed to be the people, or relatives of the people, whose identities they had unknowingly used to rent the post office boxes.
Cox’s attorney, Mark Gumbleton, said this type of offense was unusual for a first-time offender, but his client’s background gave hints as to how he “fell off the cliff”.
He said Cox experimented with drugs in college, which led to drug-induced psychosis.
Cox then spent the better part of a decade battling mental health issues and hospital admissions, but he was not diagnosed with bipolar disorder until he was behind bars.
Mr Gumbleton said the creation of a charity and an online game was the icing on the cake of Cox’s time in custody.
He said Cox had done extensive research on the game, created with the help of friends and family, which is designed to give people a scientifically proven boost to their mental health.
The charity has raised over $25,000, which goes directly to suicide prevention and mental health research.
“He used his time in a positive way to take these steps because mental health is so close to his heart,” Mr Gumbleton said.
He described Cox as putting the disappointment of being in jail behind him and moving forward in a positive way, supporting his prospects for rehabilitation.
Cox, now 34, expects to spend at least until his 40th birthday behind bars.
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